CATEGORY ARCHIVE: As Proposed

April 23, 2014

A Swing And A Miss For The Oakland A's Proposed Lease Extension

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Having pitched a proposed 10-year lease extension for the Oakland Coliseum, the Oakland A's have rejected the terms offered by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority yesterday, saying little more than the deal "did not address all of [their] issues."

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April 22, 2014

The Warriors San Francisco Sports And Entertainment Center Plan

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While the Golden State Warriors have yet to announce their specific plans for the San Francisco Sports and Entertainment Center to be built on 12 acres of land bounded by 3rd, 16th and South Streets, and Terry Francois Boulevard to the east, the basic elements of their Piers 30-32 plan remain in effect: the arena will hold about 18,000 seats, will rise around 125 feet in height, and will showcase NBA basketball games as well as concerts, events and convention activities.

The Warriors proposed development will be privately financed and the transaction with salesforce.com to acquire the land did not include any naming or sponsorship rights.

In addition, the build-out of the Mission Bay site will trigger the construction of a five-and-a-half-acre waterfront park across Terry Francois Boulevard, with water-oriented activities and large lawn areas to accommodate a variety of recreational uses similar to Marina Green.

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April 21, 2014

Warriors Drop Plans For Piers 30-32 Arena, Moving To Mission Bay

The Golden State Warriors have dropped their plans to build an arena on San Francisco's Piers 30-32 but will still be making the move to San Francisco, landing on the parcels pictured above.

Having just purchased Salesforce.com's remaining 12 acres in Mission Bay, the Warriors are now committed to building an 18,000-seat arena upon the undeveloped site which fronts Third Street in time for the 2018-19 NBA season, financing the project themselves, according to The Chronicle.

As we wrote about the Warriors' original plans in late 2012:

"With San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee deeming it his legacy project, and the project sponsors lining the pockets of nearly every political, development, and public relations consultant in the city, some might consider the Warriors Arena that’s proposed to be built upon Piers 30-32 to be too big or connected to fail. But this is San Francisco, after all."

In early 2012, we first characterized the plans for an arena upon San Francisco's Piers 30-32 as a pipe dream and put the odds of the Warriors piers project succeeding at 5 percent, noting: "we would love to be proven wrong. And of course, there is another large parcel of undeveloped land around the corner that recently became available." That large parcel of land is the very parcel upon which the Warriors now plan to build.

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Refined Designs For Proposed 8-Story "StoneFire" Building In Berkeley

The latest designs for the 8-story "StoneFire" building that’s proposed to rise on the corner of University Ave and Milvia over in Berkeley, currently the site of a one-story Firestone tire store, garage and parking lot, will be presented to Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustment Board this week.

The refined design for the 1974 University Avenue development includes 98 apartments (down from up to 120), including 8 available to very low income households, over 8,700 square feet of ground floor commercial space and below grade parking for 76 cars and bikes.

The view from the units on the 8th floor includes Golden Gate views:

Eligible for streamlined review as an infill project, the goal is to break ground for StoneFire in 2015 and be ready for occupancy by the end of 2016.

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Market Street Food Emporium Slated For Approval This Week

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While specific vendors for the proposed "Market Hall" food emporium to occupy two of the three retail space beneath the 88 apartments rising at 2175 Market Street have yet to selected, Forest City's concept calls for multiple local vendors and kiosks to occupy the combined space, similar to the Ferry Building or Rockridge Market Hall, and possibly including a bar.

The development's third retail space on the corner of Market and 15th Streets has already been approved for a restaurant that has yet to be revealed.

This week, San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to authorize combining retail spaces two and three along Market Street into one 3,900-square-foot hall. And if the food emporium concept fails to materialize, a second restaurant would likely be established in the space along Market Street instead, along with a bit of retail space.

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April 18, 2014

New Designs For Dwellings (And Retail) At Market And Sanchez

Heller Manus has refined their designs for Greystar's proposed 87-unit rental building to rise at 2198 Market Street (the triangular shaped lot on the northeast corner of Market and Sanchez).

As designed, the building would rise to a height of 65-feet along Market Street with 5,100 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, including a yet to be determined restaurant.

The height of the building would drop to 40-feet on the northern portion of the site along Sanchez Street, which includes the entrance to the building's garage with space for 34 cars and 89 bikes:

The development of 2198 Market Street, a site which was up-zoned for development as part of the Market-Octavia Neighborhood Plan, could be approved by the Planning Commission next week.

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Dogpatch Development Refined, Ready To Be Approved

The plans to raze Café Cocomo at 650 Indiana and construct two distinct five-story buildings with a total of 111 new apartments on the Dogpatch block between 18th and 19th Streets have been refined, are ready to be approved, and will be presented to San Francisco's Planning Commission in two weeks. Click the new renderings to enlarge.

An underground garage will provide parking for 79 cars and 103 bikes and the mid-block alley between the buildings which was to be a driveway is now a landscaped space. The new entrance to the garage is behind the "660" in the rendering above.

At the southern end of the development, the dead end spur of 19th Street would become a 8,200 square foot public space connected to retail, a proposed "Decompression Plaza":

The green building (680 Indiana) was designed by Pfau-Long Architecture. The patina metal building with the white tower (660 Indiana) was designed by Kennerly Architecture & Planning.

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April 16, 2014

Plans To Raze Market Street "Home" And Build 64 Apartments

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Plans to raze the shuttered Home restaurant at the Corner of Market and Church and construct a seven-story building designed by Arquitectonica with 64 apartments, 15 parking spaces, and 4,700 square feet of retail space on the ground floor have been submitted to Planning for review.

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Having sat vacant since 2011, Chipotle’s application to renovate and occupy the existing one-story building at 2100 Market Street was rejected by San Francisco’s Planning Commission last year. Brian Spiers Development, the developer behind "Linea" down the street at 1998 Market is leading the charge this time around.

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April 15, 2014

Two-Year Payout For Evicted Tenants Accelerated And Approved

Originally written to become operative 120 days after enactment, the legislation which will require landlords in San Francisco who evoke the Ellis Act to pay their evicted tenants an upfront sum equal to the difference between their current rent and a market rate unit over the course of two years has been amended to become effective 30 days after enactment and the amended legislation was approved by the Board of Supervisors in its first reading this afternoon by a vote of 9 to 2.

As we first noted last month, any tenant who has not yet vacated their unit by the effective date of the ordinance shall be entitled to the full two-year subsidy, regardless of whether their eviction notice was served prior.

Assuming the legislation is passed in a second vote next week, it will be sent to the Mayor to sign, veto or ignore. The countdown to the effective date will start ticking once the Mayor returns the ordinance, signed or unsigned; a veto is overridden by the Board; or the Mayor ignores the ordinance for ten days.

Positioned as an act "to combat displacement" rather than to discourage use of the Ellis Act which is state law, expect the ordinance to be challenged in the courts after adoption.

UPDATE: We originally reported that the legislation as amended would become operative 60 days after enactment, the amended effective date is actually 30 days after enactment as the entire 90 day operative period has been dropped.

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Law Would Ban Full-Time Airbnb Rentals, Require Registration

Supervisor David Chiu is slated to introduce new legislation this afternoon which would lift the outright ban on short-term rentals in San Francisco but establish a new set of rules by which airbnb hosts and others would have to adhere.

In multiunit buildings, the legislation would allow short-term rentals only in apartments where someone lives 75 percent of the year, effectively banning a unit from becoming a full-time vacation rental. It would require anyone renting out their place to pay hotel taxes, hold liability insurance and register with the city every two years.
If people fail to play by the rules and are reported to the city, the proposal would force websites to ban those renters. It also requires these "hosting platforms" to tell users of city laws and to collect and remit the city's 14 percent hotel tax.

As proposed, the new law wouldn’t apply to single-family homes and would not supersede the terms of an existing lease (i.e., illegally subletting would still be grounds for eviction).

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April 14, 2014

Downsized Affordable Housing Development On Mission Returns

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In 2012, the Mayor's Office of Housing withdrew their financial support for the development of a 13-story building on the parking lot at 1036 Mission between 6th and 7th Streets, a site zoned for building up to 120 feet in height.

The approved project would have provided 100 apartments for low-income families and the formerly homeless. And to some, the move by the Mayor's Office seemed to suggest a position that SoMa real estate had become too valuable for any more low income projects.

In two weeks, the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) will return to the Planning Commission seeking approvals for a scaled-down project on the site, rising 9 stories with 83 apartments for households earning up to 55 percent of the Area Median Income and 1,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the development.

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Correction: While the TNDC had proposed to partner with the developer of 399 Fremont Street to finance the development of 1036 Mission Street and satisfy the affordable housing requirement for the Fremont Street tower off-site as originally reported, that proposal has been deemed "unworkable."

The downsized 1036 Mission Street development will, in fact, be financed by San Francisco's Mayor’s Office of Housing along with the State of California’s Housing and Community Development Department as the TNDC has successfully secured "some of the last remaining funds from the voter-approved Proposition 1C," according to Katie Lamont, the TNDC's Director of Housing Development.

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April 11, 2014

Proposed "Housing Balance" Ordinance Could Be Out Of Whack

Introduced by Supervisor Kim and co-sponsored by Supervisors Avalos, Campos and Mar, a proposed "Housing Balance" ordinance would require new developments of ten or more housing units to obtain special permission from the Planning Commission if the development would cause the overall ratio of affordable housing in Supervisorial District 6 to fall below 30 percent, as measured by the ratio of units constructed since 1993.

According to Kim, "Nothing in this legislation discourages development," but according to prominent developer Oz Erickson, chairman of the Emerald Fund, "the economics of trying to provide this ratio will eliminate the possibility of building any market rate housing."

Supervisorial District 6 includes Mid-Market, South of Market, Mission Bay, the Tenderloin and Treasure Island, and within which there are over 17,000 units of housing in the development pipeline, over a third of all the housing in the works in San Francisco.

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April 9, 2014

Plans Emerge For Conversion Of Potrero Hill Convalescent Home

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With the owner having retired and the convalescent home at 331 Pennsylvania Avenue having closed, plans to convert the historic three-story building which was constructed by the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1916 and first served as the Union Iron Works Hospital into six residential units have emerged.

As proposed, a two-story addition would be constructed behind the building and three private balconies would be added to the north. Five new off-street parking spaces would be accessed by way of garage door to be carved in the façade while a new rooftop deck and garden would sprout above.

The building's change in use will require authorization from the Planning Commission.

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April 8, 2014

New In-Law Legislation Expected To Create 400 Units In The Castro

The proposed ordinance which would allow the construction of new "Accessory Dwelling Units" (i.e., In-Law Units) in the Castro and within 1,750 feet of the District's boundaries could be approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this afternoon.

The new units would need to be constructed within an existing building's envelope, would not be allowed to exceed 750 square feet in size, and could not use space from an existing dwelling unit in its construction. In-Laws would not be permitted in areas zoned for detached single-family homes, but they would be allowed in existing auxiliary structures.

And while newly created, the units would be subject to Rent Control if the existing building or any of the units within the existing building are currently subject to Rent Control.

A back of the envelope calculation estimated a theoretical maximum of 1,545 units could be constructed in the neighborhood under the terms of the ordinance, but the expected number of units to be constructed under the ordinance is closer to 400 (at most).

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The Bernal Heights "Blast Zone"

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From the "BERNAL PUBLIC SAFETY ALERT!" flyer making the rounds, with a "PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT PUTS LUXURY HOUSING AHEAD OF PUBLIC SAFETY" sub-header and the not so subtle graphic above, all emphasis as printed:

"If you live, walk, run, garden, ride your bike, push your stroller, or fly your kite around Bernal Heights, you may have entered the 600-foot Radius Blast/Fire Zone of a proposed Bernal southeast slope development of two luxury homes below the Community Garden. A 26-inch PG&E gas pipeline runs through it – the same type that blew up in San Bruno. Many residents think this development – which benefits from a questionable exemption of SF street safety grading codes – would recklessly endanger public safety."

The proposed development and plan will be presented at the East Slope Design Review Board meeting on Wednesday, April 9 at 7PM.

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April 7, 2014

Berkeley High-Rise Hotel Ready For Review And Design Debate



The members of Berkeley's Zoning Adjustments Board are slated to offer their advisory comments with respect to the proposed 16-story hotel to rise on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street this week, the 2129 Shattuck Avenue project.

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The development would replace the existing Bank of America building on the corner with 293 hotel rooms, new banking and retail/restaurant space, and a basement garage for 70 cars. As proposed, however, the 284,000-square-foot building is bulkier than allowed:

Existing Development Standards for the site require any portion of the building over 120 feet in height to be less than 120 feet in width when measured at its widest point diagonally. A 15' step back above 76 feet in height is currently required as well.

Amendments to the Standards, however, might not be the only way for the project to proceed as proposed. From a Zoning Adjustments Board Staff Report:

After reviewing the...Development Standards, and based on the pre-application materials presented so far, staff has informed the applicant that we believe this may be instead allowed via a use permit, subject to the Board making specific findings as set forth in...the Zoning Ordinance. However, a final determination will not be made until a formal application is presented to the City, and we complete our full review of that project.

In the words of the project sponsors, "The project has the potential to become an architectural icon as seen at the street and as part of Berkeley's skyline."

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April 4, 2014

Major Mission Development In The Works, Nearly 300 Units Proposed

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A plan to raze the majority of an entire Mission District block and construct nearly 300 rental units fronting Bryant, 18th, and Florida Streets has been drafted and submitted to San Francisco's Planning Department for review.

The proposed development would level the existing 2000-2070 Bryant Street buildings - including the former CELLSpace turned Inner Mission - along with 2815 18th and 611 Florida, clearing the way for a six-story development with two distinct architectural styles, 276 apartments and parking for 151 cars and 145 bikes (click renderings to enlarge).

The industrial warehouse design would front 18th Street, wrapping onto Florida and Bryant with a 4,300 square foot retail space on the corner of 18th and Florida:

Mid-block courtyard entrances on Bryant and Florida would break the mass of the development, with a contemporary design for the southern half of the project as proposed.

And while the Esperanza Community Garden would survive the Bryant Street development, the garden parcel is zoned for future development up to 68 feet in height.

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April 3, 2014

An Unexpected Transbay Twist And Block Redesign

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With San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure having determined that "economic conditions create a strong preference for commercial development over residential and hotel development" on Transbay Block 5, a request for proposals to build a 550-foot office tower with ground floor retail on the northeast corner of Howard and Beale has been issued.

Originally slated for a residential tower to rise up to 550 feet on the eastern portion of the block at the corner of Howard and Main, as we first noted yesterday, "unforeseen circumstances" have resulted in an unexpected configuration for the site and tower to rise.

The story behind the unforeseen circumstances which involves the driveway for 201 Mission Street (which runs through the middle of the block), the little Art Deco structure and open space on the corner of Howard and Beale (which is owned by 301 Howard across the street) and, of course, a concern about a potential loss of views:

The [Transbay Joint Powers Authority] attempted to negotiate an acquisition of the 201 Mission Street driveway in order to develop the site according to the standard configuration in the Development Controls – with the tower on the eastern portion of the block at the corner of Main and Howard Streets. However, the property owner expressed strong concerns that tenant views in 201 Mission Street would be negatively impacted by a tower on the eastern portion of Block 5 and demanded a price far in excess of the standard market value of the driveway parcel.
In addition, the driveway parcel provides the only access to 201 Mission Street’s parking and loading and therefore it would not be possible to develop the driveway without also negotiating a land swap with TJPA to provide alternate access. As a result, OCII does not expect the property owner of 201 Mission Street to submit a proposal in response to this RFP – and if that property owner did submit a proposal, it would need to conform to all of the restrictions described in this section.
Because of the time spent negotiating an acquisition of the 201 Mission Street driveway and the need to issue the RFP, neither OCII nor TJPA has had discussions with the owner of 301 Howard Street regarding its parcel.

That being said, while a proposal which includes either the parcel owned by 201 Mission Street or the parcel owned by 301 Howard Street will not be considered, once a development team is selected, the OCII is open to exploring alternatives for the open space on the corner of Howard and Beale, "in cooperation with the property owner." Proposals are due at the end of June.

An upside to the unforeseen circumstances, a 10,000-square-foot open space on the corner of Howard and Main is now part of the Block 5 plan as well.

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Ballot Measure To Block Approved Golden Gate Park Project Planned

Beach Chalet Field Plan

The Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park has filed a notice of intent to start gathering signatures in support of a November ballot measure to ensure "voters have a voice in deciding the future of Golden Gate Park."

More specifically, the proposed "Golden Gate Park Recreational Fields Renovation Act" would require that all athletic fields in Golden Gate Park west of Crossover Drive be maintained as natural grass and without any nighttime lighting.

And in other words, the proposed ballot measure would block the approved renovation of the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields, a project which is slated to break ground this year and convert the four grass fields to synthetic turf and light them for evening use.

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April 2, 2014

The Concept Design For Six Stories At Market And Sanchez

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As we first reported earlier this week, with Starbucks' bid to occupy the existing retail space on the southwest corner of Market and Sanchez having been rejected last year, new plans for a six-story building with nine condos over a ground floor commercial space to rise on the 2201 Market Street parcel have been submitted to planning for review.

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The concept design for the building by Edmonds + Lee Architects includes a roof deck atop, an underground garage which would be accessed by way of an elevator along Sanchez Street, and 2,500 square feet of commercial space on the corner.

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Condos For Clubbers Or Conflicts To Come?

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A plan to raze the single-story warehouse and adjacent parking lot at 33 Norfolk Street and construct a five-story building with nine residential units over two ground-floor retail spaces and a garage for residents has been submitted to Planning for review.

From the Planning Department with respect to a proposed elevated rear yard on the second floor of the development:

The orientation and location of the rear yard is appropriate in relation to current existing uses that are likely to remain. The rear yard will not be likely augmented by adjoining rear yards in the foreseeable future, and will therefore need to be self-sufficient in the ability to provide light, air, and open space for the project.

Beatbox, Audio and Bergerac are the 11th Street clubs currently operating in the two taller buildings behind the 33 Norfolk parcel, while the shorter grocery store building behind the site sits on a parcel zoned for commercial development up to 55 feet in height.

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April 1, 2014

Private Shuttles Are Easing Congestion, But Causing More Potholes

With an estimated reduction of over 45 million vehicle miles traveled per year, a big benefit of the private shuttle buses running from San Francisco to the Peninsula is a reduction in overall vehicle emissions and congestion on the roads.

According to an analysis conducted by the Department of Public Work's Infrastructure Design & Construction Division, however, the cost impact that a large shuttle bus has on the lifetime of the physical roadway is nearly 4,700 times that of an individual SUV:

...every time a large shuttle bus drives over [a] hypothetical lane mile, the impact on the pavement accounts for $1.08 out of the $1,045,000 it will ultimately cost to reconstruct the lane. In comparison, the cost impact that a typical passenger vehicle has on the lifetime of pavement is $0.00023 every time it drives on the same hypothetical one-mile long lane mile.

On the agenda for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this afternoon, an environmental appeal of the SFMTA's approved pilot program which would allow private shuttle buses to share the use of San Francisco's municipal bus stops for a fee of $1.06 per stop.

The fee is designed to simply capture the cost of administering the pilot program but does not capture any additional impact to the roads, as the "SFMTA is precluded from charging a fee for the proportional cost of such damage pursuant to Section 9400.8 of the California Vehicle Code, which restricts the ability of a local jurisdiction to impose a tax, permit or fee for use of City streets."

∙ Policy Analysis Report: Impact of Private Shuttles [sfbos.org]

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March 31, 2014

More Mass In The Mission: Designs For 20 Modern Condos On 24th

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A plan to raze La Parrilla Grill's two-story Mission District building on the southeast corner of Folsom and 24th Streets and construct a five-story building designed by Natoma Architects with 20 modern condos over 2,800 square feet of new ground floor commercial space has been submitted to Planning for review.

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As proposed, a central courtyard would divide the top four floors of the building into two separate masses, but the façade along 24th Street would rise a continuous 55 feet.

A few of the Planning Department's preliminary thoughts with respect to the project's fit:

Although the proposed project is a significant mass increase in comparison to the surrounding buildings, the overall massing, site design, and open space on balance offers the scale and density appropriate to a block termination and nearby public transportation, including MUNI and BART.
However, to further increase its relationship to the character of the block, [the Urban Design Assistance Team] recommends removing the wall on the south side of the courtyard towards the inner portion of the block to align the courtyard and create an extension of the midblock open space.

And with respect to the building's frontage along the street:

While UDAT appreciates the introduction of the arcade element to further define the relationship between the sidewalk and interior retail space, the arcade is out of character with its commercial context as currently designed as the heights of the openings are taller than surrounding facades, the narrow width is not useful public space, and the consistency of the column bays do not accentuate the retail or lobby entrances.
UDAT recommends changing the proportions of the ground floor expression to be more in line with the neighborhood scale in height, changing the bay depth or width or adding elements to emphasize entrances, and offering a more generous lobby space. The arcade should either be narrower to create a deep commercial façade or wider to be a functional and programmed transition to the retail and lobby.

A garage for ten cars via triple car stackers would be located along Lucky Street.

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Plans For Condos On Castro Corner Where Starbucks Was Spurned

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With San Francisco's Planning Commission having rejected Starbucks' bid to take over the one-story retail space at 2201 Market Street last year, the owner of the property has drafted a new plan for the parcel at the corner of Sanchez, with designs for a six-story building with nine condos over ground-floor commercial space to rise.

As drafted, the existing 3,800 square foot building on the triangular parcel would be razed to make way for a 63.5-foot tall building which would nearly cover the entire lot. The first floor of the building would include 2,500 square feet of commercial space with nine condos (four one-bedrooms, four two-bedrooms, and one three) across floors two through six.

A 700 square foot roof deck for residents would rest atop the building while parking for seven cars and ten bikes would be built underground.

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March 28, 2014

Plans To Convert Mission Armory From Porn Studio To Office Use

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Peter Acworth has quietly drafted plans to convert Kink.com's Armory building at Mission and 14th Streets from fetish porn studio to "traditional office use," with the 39,000 square foot Drill Court proposed for "spectator sports, arts, or nighttime entertainment."

San Francisco Armory Drill Court

If approved, the conversion would yield over 140,000 square feet of office space, including 67,000 square feet in the basement of the Armory which is currently used to film the "Arts."

Acworth purchased the Armory for $14.5 million in 2007, at which time a number of plans to convert the building to condos and commercial space had been proposed and rejected.

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Six Key Issues For Warriors Proposed Arena Slated For Design Review

The Golden State Warriors and Port of San Francisco will present the plans for a 128-foot-tall arena to be built upon San Francisco's Piers 30-32 to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission's Design Review Board on April 7, the first formal pre-application review for the project as proposed (click images to enlarge).

Tasked with advising the Bay Conservation and Development Commission on the adequacy of the proposed project's public access, appearance and impact on scenic views, the Design Review Board will have six key issues to consider:

1. Massing and Character: "The Board should consider whether the proposed Piers 30-32 project would be compatible with and reflect the waterfront district identity and historic character. (The Commission staff will seek the Board’s advice on project details, such as building materials, advertising and utility placement at a later time, when relevant design information is available)."

2. Heights and Views: "The Board should consider whether the varying heights and arrangement of the proposed development is appropriate for the location and would preserve Bay views to the maximum extent feasible. In addition, the Board should consider whether the proposed heights allow for maximum feasible public views of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the hills around the Bay."

3. Public Access and Adjoining Uses: "The Board should consider whether the proposed public access at Piers 30-32 would provide opportunities to enjoy the Bay, and be connected physically and visually to the Bay. The Board should also consider how outdoor dining, docking, and any on-land operational facilities for fireboats, water taxis, and cruise ships would operate and be managed to maximize use and enjoyment of the public areas."

4. Public Access and Views: "The Board should consider whether proposed public areas would have more of a relationship to the water than to the mixed-use project. Additionally, the Board should consider whether, as proposed, the public access is comprised of minor variations in elevation, whether covered public areas would serve the public, whether proposed access located at the southern part of the site takes advantage of the open water basin location, and whether public areas would provide views not only of the Bay but also back to the City of San Francisco."

5. Circulation: "The Board should consider whether the proposed circulation and ingress/egress points for vehicles (including emergency vehicles), pedestrians, persons with disabilities, and bicycles would facilitate efficient, safe, and comfortable movement for all site visitors."

6. Future Sea Level Rise and Flooding: "The Board should consider whether, based on information provided to date, the proposed public access areas would be resilient and adaptable to future sea level rise and flooding."

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The Push To Landmark An At-Risk Market Street Tree

Seeking an "open aesthetic," the buyer of 3066 Market Street, a speculative project which had been stalled mid-construction and ended up selling on the courthouse steps earlier this year, was planning to chop down the 75-foot-tall redwood tree in the backyard.

Sponsored by Supervisor Wiener and recommended by San Francisco's Land Use and Economic Development Committee, the Sequoiadendron giganteum at 3066 Market Street has been nominated for Landmark Tree status. Yes, that’s a real thing.

If approved by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors next week, the tree will likely have to be trimmed and maintained rather than removed as planned. The best line from San Francisco's Landmark Tree Program Criteria and Procedures which were adopted in 2006:

Whereas, Older mature trees with historic, cultural, economic, or visual significance to a municipality can be designated as “landmark” trees; which is not to say that younger tress are insignificant or may not be designated as a landmark tree in the future…

While not historic, the 3066 Market Street redwood has been described as "majestic and unique for the area," provides a wind and sound barrier from Market Street for the neighbors, and "reflects the aesthetic of the homes of the area," other than the one it's behind.

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March 24, 2014

Planning's Recommendation To Expand San Francisco's "Green Zone"

In late August of last year, the U.S. Department of Justice announced an update to their cannabis enforcement policy. While cannabis remains illegal federally, the Department of Justice is expecting individual states to create "strong, state-based enforcement efforts.... and will defer the right to challenge their legalization laws at this time," reserving the right to challenge the states at any time if necessary.

While San Francisco has instituted strong operational restrictions at a local level, California has yet to adopt “strong, state-based enforcement efforts” to regulate the consumption, cultivation, manufacturing, testing and retail of marijuana. The lack of a state-based regulatory framework could leave San Francisco’s existing 29 Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (MCDs) in the Fed’s crosshairs and at risk.

At the same time, in an attempt to address concerns that local restrictions are leading to an over concentration of MCDs in some neighborhoods and a lack of opportunity in others, San Francisco’s Planning Department is recommending a number of policy changes which would expand San Francisco's "Green Zone" in which MCDs would be allowed to operate:

The Department identified three possible ways to expand the Green Zone and increase the number of available commercial spaces.
The first is to allow MCDs in zoning districts where they are not currently permitted, such as PDR, South of Market Districts and NC-1 Districts. The second is to reduce the Planning Code required buffer around schools from 1000’ to 600’ per State Law; and the third is to allow MCDs on the second floor in neighborhood commercial districts.
Doing all three of these actions together would expand the Green Zone approximately five times the current size, from 462 acres to 2373 acres.

In addition, the Planning Department is recommending an elimination of the existing 1,000-foot buffer around Recreational Facilities that cater to those under 18, as the Department has found that most Recreational Facilities in the City serve various age groups "making the distinction hard to make and difficult to map," and the restriction "is rarely used to prohibit an MCD in a particular location."

The Planning Department will present their recommendation for expanding San Francisco’s Green Zone along with a number of other MCD related findings and recommendations to the Planning Commission this week. Any changes would need to be approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

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March 21, 2014

Former Facebook Couple Design A 5,600-Foot Dolores Heights Home

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The purchase of the 950-square-foot Dolores Heights cottage at 323 Cumberland Street along with its adjacent undeveloped lot for $3,550,000 in November of 2012 raised an eyebrow or two. The property had been listed for $2,400,000.

Plans to raze the cottage, merge the lots and build a 5,600-square-foot home designed by architect John Maniscalo for a former Facebook couple, one of whom was Facebook's first female engineer, will be unveiled to the neighbors at the end of the month.

As proposed, the home would rise three stories over a garage with a building height of thirty-four and one-half feet, six inches below the permitted height for the lot. We'll let you know how the neighbors respond.

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SFUSD Snubs Recommendation To Act On Surplus Property

As we first reported five months ago, concerned that surplus and underutilized real estate owned by San Francisco's City and County agencies could be put to better use ("providing for housing or commercial, cultural, and/or civic activities") and increase the City’s tax base, a Civil Grand Jury came up with six findings and recommendations for the City.

The Grand Jury's Finding Number 4:

Current practice allows City Departments and [the San Francisco Unified School District] to keep property on their surplus list indefinitely without any consequence. The concern for a more rational approach to handling under-utilized or surplus property requires that a time limit be imposed on how long property may remain on these lists. If, after a pre-determined period, property which is identified as surplus or underutilized has not been put into use or fully-utilized or no plans have been adopted for its use or full-utilization, there should be specified consequences for the failure to act.

The Grand Jury’s Recommendation Number 4:

The Board of Supervisors and the SF Board of Education should each adopt rules which limit the length of time property may remain on their respective surplus list without action and which address consequences for such inaction.

The Board of Education's initial response to Recommendation Number 4: "The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted or reasonable." And the six-month update from San Francisco Unified School District as San Francisco's current housing crisis grows: "There is no further update or change to this original response."

A Grand Jury's Call To Optimize San Francisco's City-Owned Real Estate [SocketSite]

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March 19, 2014

Another Big Transbay Block In Play And Zoned For A 550-Foot Tower

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With the wining team having been selected to build a 550-foot residential tower and podium development on Transbay Block 8, fronting Folsom Street between Fremont and First, the City is preparing to release a Request For Proposals to develop another big tower and podium project on Transbay Block 5, fronting Howard Street between Main and Beale.

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Across the street from San Francisco's Temporary Transbay Terminal, the Transbay Block 5 parcel is zoned for a tower to rise up to 550-feet in height.

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March 18, 2014

Funds For Central Subway Extension Study Recommended

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The San Francisco County Transportation Authority's Plans and Programs Committee has just recommended that $173,212 in Prop K funds be allocated to a high-level feasibility study for a northern extension of the Central Subway from its current planned terminus in Chinatown to Fisherman's Wharf, an extension which is being championed by SF NexTstop.

San Francisco's Transportation Authority Board will decided whether or not to approve the recommended allocation and feasibility study next week. The Authority Board consists of the eleven members of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors sitting as commissioners.

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Rem Koolhaas Design Selected For Folsom Street Tower

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With a winning bid of $72 Million for San Francisco's Transbay Block 8, the City's Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure has selected Related California to develop a 550-foot residential tower, podium, and low-rise project along Folsom Street.

Related is working with architect Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) on the master plan and design for the tower to rise at Folsom and First, while Fougeron Architecture is designing the podium and mid-rise along Folsom and Fremont.

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development will partner with Related for the required affordable housing component of Block 8's development, with 27 percent of the 740-ish units to be affordable to residents making 60 percent of the area median income.

As a plugged-in reader correctly reported last week, Millennium Partners losing bid for the parcel was $70 million while Golub had offered $49 million.

A request for proposals to develop Transbay Block 8 was first issued back in 2008 but then cancelled in 2009 when when bids for the parcel came in "well below the potential value of the site in a healthier real estate market." The cancelled request had targeted the development of 597 housing units on the site, nearly 20 percent fewer than today.

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March 17, 2014

The Plans For A Key Mission Bay Block And More Affordable Housing

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With Mission Bay Block 5 across the street having effectively burned to the ground, and the surviving half of the Mission Bay 360 Project rising on Block 11 in the background above, a request for proposals to develop Mission Bay Block 6 East which fronts Fourth Street from China Basin to what will be Mission Bay Boulevard North is in the works.

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The proposal for Mission Bay Block 6E calls for a non-profit developer to build up to 98 affordable housing units on the 47,000 square foot parcel along with 8,800 square feet of retail along the Fourth Street corridor, wrapping around the corner onto Mission Bay Boulevard and what will one day become the Mission Bay Commons Park.

The maximum building height for Mission Bay Block 6E was set at 90 feet.

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March 14, 2014

Et Tu, Caesar's? Plans For New Condos On The Edge Of North Beach

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While the project has yet to be approved, plans have drawn to raze the former Caesar's Restaurant on the southwest corner of Bay and Powell and construct a four-story building with 17 condos, a new ground floor restaurant, and underground parking in its place:

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From the architects: "On the edge of North Beach this building’s design is a response to the heavily trafficked Bay Street. The glass façade ripples and shimmers in a dynamic way and stands in contrast to the heavy masonry buildings surrounding it."

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Two-Year Rent Subsidy For Evicted Tenants Closer To Reality

The language for proposed legislation which would require landlords in San Francisco who evoke the Ellis Act to pay their evicted tenants an upfront sum equal to the difference between their current rent and a comparable market rate unit over the course of two years, plus $3,510 per disabled or elderly tenant, has been drafted and is working its way through San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

While California's Ellis Act allows landlords to withdraw their properties from the rental market, for whatever reason, it does provide local governments with the power "to mitigate any adverse impacts on persons displaced by reason of the withdrawal." As such, the proposed ordinance is carefully being positioned as a means by which "to better mitigate the adverse impacts for people displace by Ellis Act evictions," rather than a means by which to discourage the legal use of the Ellis Act itself.

The relocation assistance due to tenants evicted by way of the Ellis Act in San Francisco is currently capped at $15,795 per unit plus $3,510 per disabled or elderly tenant.

A key line in the proposed legislation: any tenant who has not yet vacated their unit by the operative date of the ordinance shall be entitled to the full two-year subsidy, regardless of whether their eviction notice was served prior to the ordinance becoming operative. The operative date would be 120 days after enactment.

Originally introduced by Supervisor Campos, Supervisors Avalos, Kim and Mar have since added their names as co-sponsors.

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March 13, 2014

A Showcase Connection Between Potrero, Dogpatch, And The Bay

One of five designs to showcase San Francisco's Green Connections project, a 115 mile network of walking and biking paths to crisscross San Francisco, the concept for connecting Potrero Hill and Dogpatch includes a staircase and improved pathway along the 22nd street right of way, linking Potrero to Dogpatch's commercial core; improvements to the 22nd Street Caltrain station; and the greening of 22nd Street (click images to enlarge).

In addition, the obsolete train tracks on Illinois Street will be removed and the sidewalks improved; the construction cranes currently parked along 24th Street will be moved; and an off-street trail will eventually connect to trails at the Warm Water Cove Park.

The next steps and timeline for the elements of the Potrero to Dogpatch Connection:

Hillclimb Linking Potrero to Dogpatch: TBD. May be funded via the redevelopment of adjacent properties.

Dogpatch Commercial Core Improvements: The City anticipates roughly $2M in development impact fees that can be allocated toward the project in FY 2016.

Illinois Street (Short Term): Plans to work with the Port and PG&E to replace the asphalt sidewalk in front of the Power Plant with modern concrete sidewalk and landscaping.

Warm Water Cove Park: Project planning is scheduled to begin in mid-2014 and construction is scheduled to start in mid-2016 be completed in mid-2017.

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March 12, 2014

Determination Against New Cannabis Dispensary On Divisadero

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It's time to either thank or curse the French American International School which is under construction at 1155 Page Street, the former site of the Florence Martin Child Care Center.

Fielding an official request for determination as to whether a Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) could be established at 505 Divisadero Street, three doors down from Fell and currently home to San Franpsycho, had it not been for the school which will be within 1,000 feet of the property, San Francisco's Zoning Administrator would have likely determined that an MCD would have been permitted versus having just determined that it's not.

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March 11, 2014

Salesforce Ready To Sell Two Mission Bay Parcels, And Not To Google

Salesforce.com Mission Bay Parcels

As we originally reported when Salesforce acquired 14 acres in South Mission Bay with the intention of building a nearly 2 million square-foot urban campus in San Francisco:

Two of the acquired lots are directly across the street from UCSF’s new Mission Bay Medical Center which is now under construction, thanks in large part to a $100 million donation from Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff.

With Salesforce having since abandoned their Mission Bay plans and rumors flying that Google might be planning to acquire the parcels to build an urban campus of their own, UCSF is now in "advanced discussions" to purchase Mission Bay Blocks 33 and 34 from Salesforce to build administrative offices and consolidate their leased and remote sites.

UCSF will be presenting their proposed purchase to the Mission Bay Citizens Advisory Committee this week. No word on the fate of the other five and one-half blocks of land.

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Ironic Or Not: Designs For Condos Cater-Corner To Protest Site

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Plans to raze the existing Unocal 76 Station on the northwest corner of Valencia and 24th Streets and construct a six-story condo building on the parcel have been drafted by Ian Birchall and Associates and submitted to Planning for their consideration and comments.

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Zoned for development up to 55 feet in height, the plans for the 1298 Valencia Street site include 35 housing units atop a 3,500-square-foot retail space on the ground floor.

And yes, the gas station parcel is cater-corner to the very bus stop at which protesters first started blocking tech buses last year, protesting the gentrification of the Mission.

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Another Battle Brewing Over Plans For Housing On Port Land

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The Port of San Francisco has drafted a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of Seawall 322-1, with plans to build affordable housing upon the underdeveloped half-block parcel fronting Front Street between Broadway and Vallejo.

The Site is a paved, flat, rectangular land parcel, approximately 37,810 square feet in area; and it is currently being used as surface parking [for up to 225 cars,] leased on a month-to-month basis to Priority Parking [for $47,000 a month]. The Site is approximately 500 feet from the shoreline and under current estimates of sea level rise would not be affected in 2050 and only small portions of the site identified as becoming inundated under current estimates of 2100 sea levels. Anticipated impacts of climate change will be addressed during site and building design phases.
Current zoning for the Site is C-2 (Community Business), which allows residential as a permitted use; ground floor retail and podium parking may be appropriate companion uses subject to feedback during the entitlement process. The Site is in the City’s Northeast Waterfront Historic District and a 65-foot height limit is set for the Site. Given the Site’s development potential, and its location upland, away from the water, it appears to offer the greatest affordable housing development opportunity among the Port’s seawall lots in the northeastern waterfront.

As envisioned by the Port, the proposed development on the site would include affordable apartments above a ground level parking podium (for both the building and public) and retail space with the exact level of affordability for the apartments to be determined by the Mayor's Office of Housing and the selected developer "with appropriate public input."

Having reviewed the MOU for the parcel and "plan to develop affordable housing in the middle of the Barbary Coast neighborhood," the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, Friends of Golden Gateway, SoTel Neighbors, and Telegraph Hill Dwellers are concerned.

The neighborhood groups' letter of disappointment and concern which was sent to the members of the Port Commission yesterday:

We are disappointed the proposed MOU neither acknowledges nor responds to the various concerns that community organizations have previously raised. Those concerns include – but are not limited to – the following:
• Type of housing – This topic is not addressed other than to affirm the MOHCD and the developer will have sole discretion and responsibility for determining the type of affordable housing to be developed.
• Parking – Underground parking is not considered nor mentioned.
• Overall Waterfront Development – This project is being considered in isolation without any recognition of the need for a broader development agenda. We urge the Port Commission and staff to return to the Asian Neighborhood Design overall Vision Plan for the Northeast Waterfront and begin a serious dialogue with the community.
• Active street level environment – This is not addressed.
• Community membership on selection panel – One position will be designated for a community representative, which is counter to the joint letter calling for at least two.
In summary, the MOU simply does not consider the needs and concerns of the neighborhood.

The Port is planning to complete its solicitation for a development partner for the site within a year, followed by a two-year period during which terms would be negotiated and the project would be approved and construction would occur immediately thereafter. That's the Port's plan, at least.

As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

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March 10, 2014

Stewardship For Self-Sustaining Public Plazas In San Francisco

The proposed San Francisco Plaza Program aims to boost the utilization of city-owned open spaces throughout San Francisco by allowing non-profit groups to assume their management, creating a network of self-sustaining plazas for community supported activities, such as art and music events, farmers’ markets, and local food/retail.

This [San Francisco Plaza Program] is designed to activate the public realm while empowering interested and City-identified stakeholder groups to steward the long term care, maintenance and/or activation of plazas adopted into the Plaza Program. If approved by the Board of Supervisors, the program would leverage benefits for the public realm by supporting community-based groups in becoming stewards of their neighborhood open space.
Plazas that fit criteria to be adopted in this program would be located on City-owned property in active areas of San Francisco, like commercial corridors, transit or bicycle hubs or other naturally active areas. Only City property generally over 2,000 square feet and outside of the Recreation and Parks Department jurisdiction would be eligible. Each proposed plaza would have a demonstrable need for a long-term activation and/or maintenance solution.

Plaza Stewards would be responsible for generating enough revenue to cover their approved activation, management and maintenance budgets. A portion of any excess plaza revenue could be used by the City to fund underperforming plazas in the program. And while the plazas will remain public spaces, a number of private events may be allowed.

If the Plaza Program is adopted, proposals for at least three plazas and plaza stewards are expected to be presented to the Board of Supervisors by the end of the year.

San Francisco Plaza Program Overview [oewd.org]

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Filling Up Along The Van Ness Corridor: Filbert Street Corner Plans

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On the agenda for San Francisco’s Planning Commission this week, plans for a six-story building to rise on the former service station and perennial Delancy Street Christmas tree lot on the northwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and Filbert (a.k.a. 2601 Van Ness).

As proposed, the development includes 27 residential units (a mix of 1 one-bedroom, 18 two's and 8 three's) over 3 commercial spaces on the ground floor totaling 7,200 square feet and 35 underground parking spaces.

The first two floors of the project propose full lot coverage with a bit of commercial space and storage lockers on the second floor. Floors three through six, which would be occupied by the residential units, are configured as an L-shaped building to create a continuous building wall along the blockfaces of Van Ness Avenue and Filbert Street.

The Planning Department recommends the project be approved as proposed.

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March 6, 2014

Resolution To Develop Last Berry Street Block As Rental Units

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A resolution to allow the development of Mission Bay "Block N4P3," the wedge shaped Berry Street parcel adjacent to Mission Walk, across the street from Edgewater, and the last undeveloped Berry Street parcel, has been introduced into legislation.

While originally slated for condos, the resolution would amend the Mission Bay north development agreement to allow a 129-unit rental project with a mix of market rate and below-market rate units for households with incomes up to 90 percent of the area median to be built on the site.

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Brooklyn Basin Breaking Ground, Oakland Planning For Growth

With Signature's big Brooklyn Basin project slated to break ground next week, a 66-acre East Bay development which will yield over 3,000 new housing units and 30 acres of open space, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan will outline her plans for attracting 10,000 new residents to the city as part of her State of the City address this evening.

While former Mayor Jerry Brown's original "10K" plan is credited for jump-starting the redevelopment of Oakland's Uptown and downtown, Mayor Quan's "10K Two" plan aims to cast a wider net, with plans for development "all over the city" and along transit corridors.

Oakland's Brooklyn Basin Development Secures $1.5B To Build [SocketSite]
Oakland Mayor Quan unveiling her own 10,000-resident plan [SFGate]

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March 5, 2014

The Massings For A Not So Massive SoMa Development, By Design

Rather than representing some ubermodern Sleeper-inspired design, the massings for the proposed SoMa development to rise on the corner of 9th and Howard are simply rendered to provide a sense of scale and context for the project.

With a prominent parcel that's only zoned for building up to 55 feet in height along 9th Street, the development would rise five stories on the corner, connected to a four-story building fronting Howard, separated by a mid-block pedestrian alley and onto which a retail space and residences would directly spill (click images to enlarge).

A core tenet of the City's Western SoMa Plan is to "discourage housing production that is not in scale with the existing neighborhood pattern" and restricts the vast majority of new buildings in the centrally located neighborhood to heights of under 55 feet.

As we first wrote about the proposed Western SoMa Plan back in 2012: "Considering San Francisco's struggle to meet its housing needs, and a discernible lack of density, it's a plan which seems rather short-sighted to some, perhaps even to many."

That being said, the Western SoMa Plan was subsequently approved by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors and San Francisco's "housing crisis" has since picked up steam.

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March 4, 2014

Rebuilding Of Bay Bridge Ramps To The Islands Ready To Roll

The rebuilding of the access ramps from the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge to Yerba Buena and Treasure Island is set to commence on Friday.

Phase one of the Yerba Buena Island I-80 Interchange Improvement Project will construct new westbound on and off ramps to the new eastern span of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge (click renderings to enlarge).

Once the ramps are in place on the east side of Yerba Buena Island, which is slated for mid-2016, the existing ramps on the west side of the island will be retrofitted or replaced.

No update on the redevelopment of Treasure Island and plans for 240,000 square feet of new commercial space, 8,000 new residences, and over 300 acres of open space, the ground for which was to be broken this year but the financing for which fell through.

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Six Story Folsom Street Development Rendered, Dubbed 99 Rausch

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The Local Development Group has officially filed their application to raze the former Bay Lighting & Design building and adjacent parking lot on the northeast corner of Folsom and Rausch and construct a mixed-use development with 112 residential units, 5,600 square feet of ground floor retail, and 100 parking stalls on the West SoMa site.

While currently known as the 1140 Folsom Street project, the development which is being designed by BAR Architects will be dubbed 99 Rausch.

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The design details and full Rausch Street facade by way of a plugged-in source:

The plan is to demolish the existing commercial building on the site and construct a project that will include 45 two-bedroom units, 52 one-bedroom units and 15 studios at a height of 6 stories along Folsom and 4 stories along the Rausch frontage. Additionally, one level of underground parking would be access from Rausch Street. We are excited to activate the Folsom frontage with ground-floor retail and building entrances where the current building has only a blank façade all along Folsom.
The project design builds on the unique character of the Rausch Street neighborhood. The Folsom façade highlights three elements. First, a clearly defined retail base will enhance the pedestrian experience by lowering the façade’s scale and providing richness with stone material and storefront variety. The housing above the retail is appropriately scaled with large windows and brick material, reminiscent of several brick buildings along Folsom Street. Finally, the corner of Folsom and Rausch will be accentuated by a lighter structure with expansive windows to create a sense of openness and maximize views. The developer is committed to activating the street-level experience along Folsom where they propose sidewalk bulb-outs at Folsom/Rausch, public bicycle parking, and enhanced landscaping at street level designed by landscape architect Cliff Lowe.
Along Rausch, the project utilizes a rhythm of smaller scaled units that is contextual to the charming nature of the existing environment. The project steps down to four stories along Rausch and the building features garden stoop entrances, enhanced landscaping and trees to activate the sidewalk experience. Bay windows will also reduce the scale along Rausch and provide southern light and views to the residents.

The full Rausch Street facade and elevation, click the rendering to enlarge:

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Condo Conversion Of Prominent SoMa Corner Proposed

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San Francisco's Planning Department authorized the theoretical conversion of the gas station parcel on northeast corner of Howard and 9th Street to "other uses" seventeen years ago, despite the lack of a proposed alternate use at the time.

Currently zoned for development up to 55 feet in height, a real proposal to raze the Chevron, Burger King and Starbucks on the corner parcel and construct of a mixed-use development with around 120 condo-mapped residential units and 13,000 square feet of commercial space on the site has been submitted to the Planning Department for review.

As part of the proposed project, a mid-block pedestrian alley connecting Howard and Natoma Streets would be constructed. And in terms of timing, keep in mind that Chevron's current lease runs for another five years.

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February 28, 2014

Designs For 94 New Dogpatch Dwelling Units Along Third And Illinois

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Plans for a six-story residential building to rise at 2051 3rd Street will be presented to San Francisco's Planning Commission next week. The proposed Dogpatch development would raze two mid-block industrial buildings between Mariposa and 18th Streets, merge the parcels, and construct 94 new dwelling units with an underground garage on the site

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The development would front both Third (above) and Illinois (below) with a courtyard between.

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As proposed, the 94 units would be rentals for at least 30 years with a mix of 35 studios, 21 one-bedrooms, 37 two-bedrooms and 1 three-bedroom. Two of the one-bedrooms would be ground floor "flex spaces" along Illinois:

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Access to the garage with space for 74 cars would be by way of Illinois.

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Parking for up to 102 bikes in the building is included as well.

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Decision To Downsize Mission District Development Reversed

1050 Valencia Street 2012 Rendering

San Francisco’s Board of Appeals has reversed their December decision which had required the previously approved five-story project at 1050 Valencia Street to remove a full floor and three units in order to move forward with development

As we first reported last month which led to the reversal this week:

With San Francisco's Board of Supervisors having narrowly upheld the Planning Department's approval for the five-story development at 1050 Valencia Street to rise, a subsequent appeal of the project's building permits resulted in 5-0 vote by San Francisco's Board of Appeals to issue the permits, but under a couple of conditions, including that the developer only build four stories rather than five as approved.
The problem for the Board of Appeals, they might have overstepped their legal bounds.
Following their public meeting, the Board of Appeals will move behind closed doors this evening to meet with legal counsel in anticipation of having to defend against litigation. The likely action would be based on the California Housing Accountability Act which prevents local agencies from reducing the density of code-complying residential projects.

Apparently counsel was convincing and the developer's argument sound as the Board voted 4-0 to reverse their previous decision and allow 1050 Valencia to rise a full five floors, the height for which the parcel is zoned. That being said, attached to the Board's ruling was a mandate that the project be redesigned with the fifth floor setback from the street.

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February 27, 2014

Agents Take Next Step Toward Razing The Elbo Room

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As we first reported last month, the owners of 645 Valencia Street which is currently leased to the Elbo Room have filed preliminary plans to raze the Mission district building and construct a five-story condominium development in its place.

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While some felt our initial report overstated the seriousness of the plans and owners' intentions, our report was actually understated. As we outlined the following week:

A detailed set of architectural plans has been drafted for the project and the building’s owners have authorized the architects to act as their agents in submitting applications for environmental reviews, a historic resource evaluation, variances and Conditional Use. That's every step required to get the project formally approved.
In fact, a month after the Planning Department provided their feedback on the preliminary plans, the application fee for which was nearly $5,000 alone, a follow-up meeting was scheduled between the Planning Department and architects to discuss next steps and plans for submitting the Environmental Evaluation and Historic Resource report for the project to move forward.

While it has yet to be assigned within the Planning Department, the application for Environmental Evaluation has been submitted for the development, a geotechnical report has been completed for the site, and a Historic Resource Evaluation form has been signed with planning for a full Historic Resource Evaluation Report underway.

Once again, while it's possible that the building's owners will abandon their plans at any stage, the extent of work, forward progress and expense to date would suggest that this is more than simply an exploratory exercise, as some have suggested and (been) played.

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Google Owns Over 10% Of Mountain View And Plans To Expand

Including 42 acres upon which Google has proposed to build a 1.2 million square foot Bay View campus (click to enlarge), Google now controls 250 parcels in Mountain View and owns over ten percent of the city’s taxable property, all of which The Verge has mapped.

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Google's stated plans for developing nearly four million square feet in Mountain View would provide enough space for an estimated 24,000 people, double its current workforce. And all of which raises some great questions and concerns.

Welcome to Googletown | Interactive Map Of Google's Land [The Verge/Google]

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Designs For New Condos On Clement Street Slated To Be Approved

3038 Clement Street

As we first reported back in 2012 with respect to a Clement Street development which was quietly in the works at the time:

While the neighbors and neighborhood groups haven't yet been notified, the owner of the single-story building at 3038 Clement Street is quietly working on plans to raze the "European Food" market and build a four-story, 40-foot tall building with six three-bedroom condos over ground floor retail and parking for six cars on the site between 31st and 32nd Avenues, from which San Francisco's first Fresh & Easy is a fifty-foot walk.

With the design for the project having since been modified to include three two-bedrooms and three three-bedrooms along with parking for ten bikes (in addition to the six cars), this afternoon, San Francisco's Planning Commission is slated to decide whether or not to approve the development as proposed:

3038%20Clement%20Street%20Design%20Front.jpg

The Planning Department, which recommends approval of the 3032-3038 Clement Street project, has received eight letters in support of the development and none opposed.

3038%20Clement%20Street%20Design.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

February 26, 2014

Condos Rather Than Cold Ones On Divisadero Street

834%20Divisadero.jpg

A proposal to add four floors of residential space over the existing two-story garage at 834 Divisadero Street is making its way through Planning (click rendering to enlarge).

Designed by Ian Birchall & Associates, the proposed development would rise 65 feet in height and create seven condos across the top four floors, seven parking spaces on the second, and 4,000 square feet of ground floor retail space along the street.

And yes, this is Little Star adjacent building between McAllister and Fulton into which some were expecting Barrel Head Brew House to go.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

February 25, 2014

Designs For Mission District Development At 15th And Shotwell

1450 15th Street

As we first reported early last year with respect to plans for development at the intersection of 15th Street and Shotwell in the Mission:

Permits to demolish the one-story warehouse on the northwest corner of 15th and Shotwell and construct a four story building with ten apartments on the site were disapproved in 2010, at which point the development plans for the parcel were cancelled.
Purchased for $1,450,000 [in October of 2012], a new plan has been quietly pitched to Planning with a proposal to demolish the building at 1450 15th Street and construct a 5-story, 50-foot tall building with 23 dwelling units and parking for 17 cars and 12 bikes.

Designs for the proposed development have since been drawn (click to enlarge), the project's environmental review is underway, and building permits have been requested.

Assuming the plans and permits are approved, the development at 1450 15th Street could break ground as soon as this spring.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

February 24, 2014

State Bill Targeting Speculative Evictions In SF Introduced, Again

As expected, Senator Mark Leno has introduced Senate Bill No. 1439, designed to prohibit speculators from buying tenant occupied buildings in San Francisco, evicting the tenants by way of the Ellis Act, and then selling the individual units as a Tenancy in Common (TIC) or together as de facto single-family homes.

Existing law, commonly known as the Ellis Act, generally prohibits public entities from adopting any statute, ordinance, or regulation, or taking any administrative action, to compel the owner of residential real property to offer or to continue to offer accommodations, as defined, in the property for rent or lease.
This bill would authorize the County of San Francisco to prohibit an owner of accommodations from withdrawing accommodations or prosecuting an action to recover possession of accommodations, or threatening to do so, if not all the owners of the accommodations have been owners of record for 5 continuous years or more or with respect to property that the owner acquired after providing notice of an intent to withdraw accommodations at a different property. Among other things, the bill would also permit the county to require an owner of accommodations notifying the county of an intention to withdraw accommodations from rent or lease to identify each person or entity with an ownership interest in the accommodations and to identify all persons or entities with an ownership interest in an entity, which information would be available for public inspection.

As we noted last month, a state bill to amend the Ellis Act so that only property owners who had owned a property for at least 5 years would be able to invoke the Ellis Act to evict tenants was also proposed back in 2007 but died on the Senate floor.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

Another Proposed Conversion On O'Farrell Street

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Plans to convert the five-story building at 436 O’Farrell Street from office space into nine residential units have been drawn and the required variances for the project will be decided this week, with a new roof deck proposed in lieu of a required rear yard.

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No word on whether or not the psychic who replaced A-One’s operation saw this coming or has predicted what will happen with the plans to raze the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist building two doors away and construct a twelve-story building in its place.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

Forward Progress For Proposed Moorish Fortress Hits A Wall

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The plans for "El Jardin," the six-story Moorish fortress proposed to rise on the long vacant Berkeley lot at the corner of Haste and Telegraph Avenue are once again slated for a public hearing this Thursday.

Berkeley’s Design Review Committee (DRC) provided comments on the proposed development eight months ago and requested that the applicant "look more carefully" at how the project would work with Telegraph Avenue in general and interface with its adjacent parcels.

"On January 22, 2014, staff again requested that the applicant submit revised drawings to respond to the comments offered by the DRC in June 2013, and requested that these materials be submitted by January 31 to allow time for staff to prepare a staff report to the DRC. To date, the applicant has not presented a revised design to respond to the comments offered by the DRC."

In addition, multiple requests from Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board staff for additional information needed to evaluate a necessary density bonus for the project as proposed appear to have fallen on deaf ears and the information has yet to be provided.

Four months ago, the parcel's owner, Ken Sarachan, had agreed to move forward with plans to develop the lot within 45 days or risk forfeiture of the land.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

February 21, 2014

Plans For A Sixty-Foot Nob Hill Building On An Eighty-Foot Lot

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Currently a parking lot with space for twenty-two cars, half of which are designated for car sharing services, a six-story building is proposed to rise at 832 Sutter Street.

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The proposed Nob Hill building includes 20 dwelling units over a 400 square foot retail space. And as designed, the development would not include any parking, for which it will need a waiver from the city as five spaces are required by code.

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Originally designed to rise 80 feet, the height for which the parcel is zoned and which would have yielded 27 units of housing, neighborhood opposition to the 80-foot project when first proposed in 2008 is being fingered for the development's downsizing today.

And to be clear, the majority of the now five-year-old opposition was related to the building's impact on neighborhood parking rather than the building's height per se.

As the six-story building would look in context with the rest of the Sutter Street block (click the rendering to enlarge):

Posted by socketadmin at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

Impact Of Waterfront Ballot Initiative Slated For Widespread Review

Sponsored by Supervisor Wiener, the Port of San Francisco, Planning Department, City Administrator, Controller, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Municipal Transportation Agency, and Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development will all have a chance to report on the impact of adopting the Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act with respect to the City's future housing, transportation, and open space needs.

The reports may include analysis of:

(1) Any fiscal impacts of the Initiative, should it pass, on the City at large as well as the Port specifically, including the Port’s ability to fund required capital improvements;
(2) The consistency of the measure with the City’s General Plan, including Housing Element goals for meeting the City's housing needs;
(3) Any impacts on the City’s ability to meet its housing production goals, including affordable housing and generation of impact fees for affordable housing;
(4) Whether individual affordable housing projects seeking a height increase would have to be placed on the ballot, and if so, the impact of that requirement on the cost of producing affordable housing;
(5) The effect of the Initiative on the use of land; its impact on the availability, location, and affordability of housing, and the ability of the City to meet its fair share of regional housing needs;
(6) The impact of the Initiative on the cost of and funding for infrastructure of all types, including, but not limited to, transportation, schools, parks, sewers, and open space;
(7) The impact of the Initiative on the City’s ability to attract and retain business and employment;
(8) A description of waterfront development projects currently in the planning process that could be affected by the Initiative, including a history of community planning processes and state legislation relating to those projects;
(9) A list of past projects that would have had to be placed on the ballot had the Initiative been in place at the time;
(10) The impact of the Initiative on planned waterfront development projects, including the impact of a voter approval requirement on the nature, design, and costs of such projects (including impacts on the cost of producing housing and affordable housing) and on the community planning process, and;
(11) The consistency of the measure with the City’s obligations under the Burton Act and related law;
(12) Other subjects that the Departments deem relevant to a full analysis and understanding of the Initiative.

Assuming Wiener's resolution authorizing the review is adopted by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors next week, the departments will be asked to produce their reports by March 7.

And per the terms of the resolution, the reports "shall include only objective, impartial information and analysis, shall not recommend changes to the Initiative, and shall not make a recommendation as to whether the voters should adopt the Initiative."

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

611 Tax-Defaulted Properties In San Francisco Facing Public Auction

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While mostly timeshares but including houses, condos and undeveloped parcels of land, including the Telegraph Hill parcel facing the Filbert Street steps outlined above, there are currently over 600 properties in San Francisco which have been in a tax-defaulted state for over five years and which the City's Tax Collector would like to sell at public auction.

With the backing of its Budget and Finance Committee, next week San Francisco's Board of Supervisors is poised to authorize the sale which would occur in May.

The list of all 611 properties which could be sold:

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

February 20, 2014

$400 Million Earthquake Safety Bond Headed To The Ballot Box

The paperwork to allow a proposed $400,000,000 bond issuance to be placed on the June ballot has just been filed with San Francisco’s Department of Elections.

The $400 million San Francisco Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond would finance the construction, improvement, and seismic retrofitting of the city's deteriorating emergency firefighting water system, neighborhood fire and police stations and Medical Examiner facilities.

A $420 million Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond was approved by 79 percent of those who voted in 2010, 66 percent is needed to pass. And in terms of other relevant percentages, according to the USGS, there is a 63 percent chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude earthquake striking the Bay Area in the next 25 years.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

A Hard Lesson For CA Teachers: $44M Lost On 8 Washington Project

A public records request has uncovered that The California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) invested $45 million and has lost $44 million on the failed waterfront development known as 8 Washington.

From CalSTRS' statement in response to an inquiry from SF Weekly with respect to how their millions were spent on the project which never broke ground: "Disclosure of the requested information prior to the completion of this investment is likely to cause substantial harm to CalSTRS' competitive position."

In addition to the development's defeat at the ballot box, a judge has since ruled that the State Lands Committee improperly exempted the project from additional environmental review. As such, simply lowering the height of the proposed project to meet existing height limits for the parcels won't be enough to move forward with the development.

Planning Approves 8 Washington Street Development As Proposed [SocketSite]
Voters Reject Measures B/C And Designs For 8 Washington Street [SocketSite]
The Fate Of The 8 Washington Street Site: What Happens Now? [SocketSite]
State Teachers' Pension Fund Blew $44 Million on the 8 Washington Project [SFWeekly]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

February 19, 2014

High-Rise Wars: New Tower Appealed By Neighboring High-Rise HOA

340 Fremont Site

As we first reported this past December, while the demolition permits to raze the buildings at 340 and 360 Fremont Street in order to clear the way for the approved 40-story residential tower to rise on the site were issued, the permit to build the tower was appealed and suspended. And now, the approved demolition permits have been appealed as well.

The appellant behind all of the appeals is the HOA for The Metropolitan, the adjacent two-towered development along First Street which rises up to 27-stories with Bay views, views which will be blocked by the 340 Fremont Street tower as noted back in 2006.

San Francisco's Board of Appeals is slated to hear the HOA's arguments this evening.

UPDATE: The appeals were denied and the demolition of the existing buildings at 340 and 360 Fremont should soon commence with construction for the 400-foot tower to follow.

Demo Approved But Permit To Build 40-Story Tower Suspended [SocketSite]
Neighborhood Scoop: 340 Fremont's Refined Design And Parking [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

February 18, 2014

Plans For A Pair Of Passive Houses In SF, And The Active Opposition

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As proposed, the existing two-story house at 2123 Castro Street which was built in 1912 will be demolished in order to make way for a contemporary, three-story home to rise with designs for it to be a certified Net-Zero Energy (NZE) building.

Despite a building size of over 3,670 square feet including the garage, the proposed Noe Valley home will not have a furnace nor air-conditioning and will be "passive" in design, a super-insulated structure with an air-tight building shell which will primarily derive its heat from the sun and people inside, the first new passive house in San Francisco.

A second three-story home of equally efficient and ambitious design is proposed to rise on the adjacent 2127 Castro Street parcel, upon which the 500-square-foot garage for the existing home at 2123 Castro Street currently sits.

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Opposing the project, a nearby neighbor and 44 signers of a petition who are concerned that the development will replace affordable housing with high-cost housing and that the scale and design of the buildings are out of context with the neighborhood:

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Keep in mind that the existing "affordable home" at 2123 Castro Street has recently been appraised for $1,525,000 and neither of the neighbors in the adjacent single-story homes to the north and south of the proposed project are opposed to the plans.

San Francisco's Planning Commission is slated to issue a decision with respect to the proposed plans for 2123 Castro Street this week with the Planning Department's recommendation that they be approved.

The proposed sister building at 2127 Castro Street is following under cover of a separate permit.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

February 14, 2014

Recommendation To Crackdown On Illegal Rentals Goes Missing

As we first reported last month, in response to an executive directive from Mayor Ed Lee, a working group co-chaired by the directors of San Francisco's Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection drafted a list of recommendations to accelerate the production of new housing in San Francisco and protect the city's existing housing stock.

With the estimated number of existing dwelling units in the city currently used for short-term occupancy versus their legal use as permanent housing running as high as 5,000 units, one of the draft recommendations was to crackdown on the enforcement of illegally renting an apartment for less than 30 days in San Francisco.

As we wrote at the time:

While a crackdown on illegal short-term rentals could quickly move the needle with respect to available housing supply and affordability, it would likely put the Mayor at odds with ["sharing" sites such as] airbnb, a site that he has championed. It will be interesting to see which side he favors.

The official list of recommendations has since been put in ink and sent to the Mayor by way of DBI Director Tom Hui and Planning Director John Rahaim. Missing from the official list, the working group's recommendation to crackdown on illegal short-term rentals and the draft list has been removed from the Planning Department's website.

Executive Directive 13-01: Housing Production and Preservation [sfplanning.org]
The Recommendations For Accelerating Housing Production In SF [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (48) | (email story)

February 12, 2014

Economists: Formula Retail Controls Could Hurt Consumers/Economy

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Prepared in response to proposed legislation which would further expand formula retail controls in San Francisco, San Francisco's Office of Economic Analysis (OEA) has concluded that formula retail controls could actually hurt consumers and the local economy.

Research by the OEA suggests that local retailers charge prices that average 17% more than chain stores. From their full report:

"Restricting chain stores will therefore likely increase the average cost of retail distribution in the city. Higher costs usually have two effects on markets: higher prices and reduced sales. Businesses pass their higher costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices, who react by spending less in the local economy.
Higher prices harm consumers, and reductions in sales harm other businesses."

Anecdotal evidence does suggest, however, that non-formula retailers may spend up to 9.5% more within the local economy than chain stores on business services. That being said, "the economic cost of higher prices on local consumers outweighs the potential benefit of greater local spending by non-formula retailers, and the net local spending impact is somewhat negative."

The OEA was unable to quantify or account for the impact of formula retail on perceptions of "neighborhood quality," the economic value of which is priced into neighborhood rents and housing values.

In the end, the OEA concludes that "expanding the definition of formula retail in the city will not expand the local economy;" a new chain store "could benefit the economy without benefitting existing [local] businesses by offering lower prices to consumers;" and that Planning decisions with respect to allowing or blocking formula retailers should "explicitly consider the views of residents and whether a proposed store could prevent blight."

Expanding Formula Retail Controls: Economic Impact Report [sfcontroller.org]
The Formula For Success Or Protectionism In San Francisco? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (36) | (email story)

Tenant Right Of First Refusal And Assistance Fund Floated

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Board of Supervisors President David Chiu is calling for legislation that would not only give tenants in San Francisco the right of first refusal to purchase their building "at fair market value" should their landlord want to sell, but would also increase the City's Small Site Acquisition Fund to assist said tenants in their purchases.

"We need to do more to put housing in the hands of San Francisco tenants who are in danger of being evicted by speculative investors," said Supervisor Chiu.

The parameters for the proposed legislation have yet to be defined, but similar legislation in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore allows tenants to match sale terms offered by another party. Expect the proposed legislation in San Francisco to include the option for tenants to allow a designated affordable housing nonprofit to act on their right of first refusal as well.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (46) | (email story)

6,000 Housing Units Under Construction In San Francisco, Another 44,000 Units In The Pipeline

While fewer than 2,000 new housing units and 140,000 square feet of commercial space in San Francisco was completed in 2013, there were roughly 6,000 housing units and 2.8 million square feet of commercial space under construction at the end of the year, units which will hit the market over the next year or two.

Permits for another 6,600 housing units to be built in San Francisco have either been approved or requested, units which should start hitting the market in two to four years along with another 4 million square feet of commercial space.

In addition to the nearly 12,600 housing units which are either under construction, ready to break ground or awaiting a permit, another 27,300 units have been approved to be built across the city. The approved projects, however, include 10,500 units by Candlestick, 7,800 units on Treasure Island and 5,680 units in Park-Merced, projects which still have overall timelines measured in decades, not years.

And with proposed plans for an additional 10,500 housing units under the Planning Department’s review, San Francisco's Housing Pipeline currently totals over 50,000 units. For context, a total of roughly 12,000 housing units have been built in San Francisco since 2007, a total of 26,000 new units since 2000.

With respect to commercial development in San Francisco, in addition to the nearly 6.6 million square feet under construction, ready to break ground or awaiting a permit, another 5.9 million square feet of commercial development has been approved and plans for an additional 3.5 million square feet are being reviewed.

A breakdown of the residential developments in the works across San Francisco by neighborhood, not including those at Candlestick, Park-Merced or Treasure Island (click the chart to enlarge):

San Francisco Pipeline Report: Fourth Quarter 2013 [sf-planning.org]
San Francisco's Housing Pipeline Breaks The 50,000 Unit Mark [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (23) | (email story)

February 10, 2014

Measure To Limit Waterfront Building Heights Qualifies For June Ballot

The proposed Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act has qualified for the June ballot.

If passed, the ballot measure would prohibit increasing the existing maximum building heights for parcels along San Francisco's waterfront unless explicitly approved by voters on a project-by-project basis.

The measure defines "waterfront" as public trust property that the State transferred to the City to be placed under the control of the San Francisco Port Commission, as well as any other property that the Port owns or controls as of January 1, 2014 or later acquires.

Examples of such waterfront property include the pier and Embarcadero parcel upon which the Warriors would like to build their proposed 125-foot-tall arena and condo/hotel complex rising up to 175 feet, and the Mission Bay parking lot upon which the Giants would like to build their proposed Mission Rock neighborhood rising up to 320 feet in height.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

February 7, 2014

Plans To Raze The Elbo Room Are More Than Preliminary

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As we first reported last week, the owners of the Valencia Street building which is currently leased to the Elbo Room have filed their preliminary plans to raze the Mission district building and construct a five-story condo building in its place.

While some felt our report overstated the intent and seriousness of the plans, including Matt Shapiro, the operator of the Elbo Room, who dismissively posted that the Elbo Room wasn’t closing "any time soon" and that the owners of the building weren't serious about acting on the plans, our report was actually understated.

A detailed set of architectural plans has been drafted for the project and the building’s owners have authorized the architects to act as their agents in submitting applications for environmental reviews, a historic resource evaluation, variances and Conditional Use. That's every step required to get the project formally approved.

In fact, a month after the Planning Department provided their feedback on the preliminary plans, the application fee for which was nearly $5,000 alone, a follow-up meeting was scheduled between the Planning Department and architects to discuss next steps and plans for submitting the Environmental Evaluation and Historic Resource report for the project to move forward.

Our report isn't based on hearsay, a carefully worded statement or conjecture, but rather actual documents of which we have copies in hand. And yes, we have the preliminary designs for the proposed five-story building to replace the Elbo Room as well:

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We don’t know if Mr. Shapiro is simply out of the loop or trying to cover up the extent of planning for the project that has been happening behind the scenes. And while it is, of course, entirely possible that the building’s owners abandon their plans at any stage, the extent of work, forward progress and expense to date would suggest that this is more than simply an exploratory exercise.

Elbo Room At Risk Of Being Razed For Mission Housing Development [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (50) | (email story)

America’s Cup Organizers Threaten To Sail Away From SF's Bay

Perhaps they’re just playing hardball, but with the City requesting rent payments for pier space rather than incentives for holding the race in San Francisco, organizers for the America's Cup have pushed back their deadline for announcing the host city for the regatta in 2017 in order to evaluate four competing proposals according to the Chronicle.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (38) | (email story)

Planning Commission Approves Plans For Apple's Flagship SF Store

Apple's plans for a flagship store on Union Square have been approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission by a vote of 5 to 1. It's now on to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors for the final yea or nay, the hearing date for which has yet to be announced.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Permalink | (email story)

February 6, 2014

Apple's Flagship Store With 45-Foot Doors Up For Approval

As we first reported and revealed last week, the façade for Apple’s proposed flagship store on Union Square has been redesigned by Foster + Partners to incorporate a pair of full-height sliding glass doors, each measuring 23 feet wide and 44.5 feet tall and allowing the store to be opened to the street (click renderings to enlarge).

This afternoon, the revised designs for the store and an all new plaza behind will go before San Francisco’s Planning Commission to be approved.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

February 5, 2014

BIG Designs For Modern Mid-Market Architecture: 950-974 Market

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A plugged-in tipster delivers the new renderings for the proposed 950-974 Market Street Project which is being designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for Group I.

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The project includes a 250-room hotel, 316 residential units, 15,000 square feet of retail and a 75,000-square-foot Center for Arts & Education at the corner of Market and Turk.

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A peek inside the project's proposed atrium which BIG has designed "to be versatile, morphing into a concert venue, informal gallery or exhibition hall," and a link to additional renderings for the Mid-Market development:

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Additional renderings for the project have been uploaded to the 950-974 Market Street site.

BIG Architects Selected To Design Major Mid-Market Complex [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

February 4, 2014

From Long-Vacant Building To Affordable Housing In The Haight

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Having sat empty for the past ten years, an ordinance to allow Mercy Housing to convert the vacant four-story Single Room Occupancy (SRO) building on the northwest corner of Page and Masonic to 16 units of affordable housing is slated to be passed by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this afternoon.

The building at 1500 Page was approved for use as an SRO for formerly homeless adults back in 2009, but that project was abandoned. The current plan is to convert the building's 38 rooms into 16 self-contained studios for developmentally disabled adults who qualify as Lower or Very Low Income Households and a one-bedroom for an on-site manager.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

Two Year Subsidy For Evicted Tenants In San Francisco Proposed

Supervisor David Campos will introduce legislation this afternoon that would require landlords in San Francisco who evoke the Ellis Act to pay evicted tenants the difference between their current rent and a comparable market rate unit, times twenty-four.

Currently, the city requires building owners to pay each tenant evicted under the Ellis Act $5,261 in relocation fees, with a cap of $15,783 per unit. Disabled or elderly tenants receive an extra $3,508. The amounts are adjusted annually for inflation, and half must be paid at the time an eviction notice is served, the other half once the tenant moves out.
Under Campos' proposal, the difference between a unit's monthly rent and a "comparable" unit would be determined by the city controller's office, multiplied by 24 months and divided among the evicted tenants. An evicted tenant would receive either the $5,261 or the difference in rent, whichever is more.

Likely to be challenged in the courts should it pass, Campos is positioning the proposed legislation as an act "to combat displacement" rather than to discourage the use of the Ellis Act which is state law.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (128) | (email story)

February 3, 2014

Sponsors Of Measure To Limit Building Heights Deliver 21K Signatures

Needing 9,702 valid signatures to qualify for the June ballot, the sponsors of the proposed Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act delivered over 21,000 raw signatures to the Department of Elections this afternoon.

Designed to prohibit the increasing of existing building height limits for parcels along San Francisco's waterfront, such as for the Warriors' proposed arena project, the measure would require voters to approve the upzoning of waterfront parcels on a project-by-project basis.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (62) | (email story)

Warriors Concede Plans For 2017 Season In SF, 2018 A Stretch

Warriors%202018.gif

With opponents ready to submit the necessary number of signatures for a ballot measure which would require the Golden State Warriors to win voter approval for their proposed development on Pier 30-32 and across the street, the Warriors have officially conceded their plans for having an arena on San Francisco's waterfront in time for the 2017 season.

In fact, based on the critical path for the arena project and the current state of affairs, an arena opening in time for the 2018-2019 NBA season is a stretch at this point, and that’s assuming the plans and permits are even approved.

Timeline And Key Milestones For Building The Warriors Arena In SF [SocketSite]
SF Arena Threat: The Waterfront Height Limit Right To Vote Act [SocketSite]
The Odds Are Against The Warriors Moving To SF In 2017 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

January 31, 2014

Elbo Room At Risk Of Being Razed For Mission Housing Development

Elbo%20Room.gif

The owners of the two-story Mission district building at the corner of Valencia and Sycamore which is currently occupied by the Elbo Room have quietly drafted plans to raze the bar and construct a new five-story building in its place.

Early plans for the development include nine (9) residential units, three one-bedrooms and six two-bedrooms, ranging in size from 500 to 1,000 square feet over a 770 square-foot commercial space and parking for six (6) cars on the ground floor.

While the existing building at 645 Valencia Street wasn’t deemed to be historic when reviewed as part of the Inner Mission Historic Resource Survey in 2011, the Planning Department has since "received additional information that suggests that the subject property may have associations with the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals in San Francisco."

As such, the owners will be required to provide a Historic Resource Evaluation (HRE) to determine whether the subject property is a historic resource for the purposes of CEQA in order to move forward with any development.

UPDATE: While some might wish it were, and others seem to be implying that it is, our report isn't based on rumor or speculation but rather the Preliminary Project Assessment for the development which was submitted to San Francisco’s Planning Department for review. The first page and a quarter of the Planning Department’s response to the application, click to enlarge:

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (79) | (email story)

Redesigned Apple Store Renderings Redux

Another set of renderings of the redesigned Post Street façade for Apple's proposed flagship store on Union Square which now features two full-height sliding glass doors, each measuring 23 feet wide and 44.5 feet tall, allowing the store to be opened to the street:

Note the regular sized all-glass doors in the non-sliding bays (click to enlarge) which would act as the primary access points for the store when the full-height doors are closed. There are two sets of doors from the redesigned plaza behind the store as well.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

The Odds Are Against The Warriors Moving To SF In 2017

The projected cost to rebuild San Francisco's Pier 30-32 in order to support the development of the Warriors' proposed waterfront arena is up to $180 million, $10 million more than the $170 million estimated last summer.

While the extra $10 million is a relative drop in the bucket with respect to the overall budget for the project, it’s indicative of a more complex and time consuming project than originally projected, increasing the odds that the Warriors won’t have an arena ready for the 2017 NBA season in San Francisco.

The original timeline and critical path for the proposed arena to be ready in time for the 2017 season required the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to have been prepared by the summer of 2013 and certified last fall. The report has yet to be finished.

The arena project cannot be approved by the city nor any permits issued until the EIR is certified, a legal challenge of which is sure to come. And even assuming no setbacks at the ballot-box or in the courts, construction of the arena will take around two and one-half years to complete and was scheduled to start this summer in order for the arena to ready for a 2017 opening.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

January 30, 2014

Façade For Apple's Flagship Store Redesigned, Opens To The Street

The Post Street façade for Apple’s proposed flagship store on Union Square has been redesigned by Foster + Partners to feature two full-height sliding glass doors, each measuring 23 feet wide and 44.5 feet tall, allowing the store to be opened to the street.

When closed, the columns of the steel-framed doors would divide the façade into four discrete glass bays of 23 to 31 feet each. A six-bay design was also rendered, but the four-bay design above is Apple's preferred execution. Click images to enlarge.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

Nob Hill Neighbors' Appeal Denied, Development Clear To Commence

First St. John's United Methodist Church at Larkin and Clay (Image Source: MapJack.com)

A plugged-in tipster reports that the Nob Hill Neighbors’ appeal to block the development of 1601 Larkin Street was denied by a vote of 4-0 last night, clearing the way for the demolition the dilapidated First St. John's United Methodist Church at the corner of Larkin and Clay and the construction of a five-floor building with 27 dwelling units on the site.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

January 29, 2014

Downsizing Of Valencia Street Development Could Be Against The Law

1050 Valencia Street 2012 Rendering

With San Francisco's Board of Supervisors having narrowly upheld the Planning Department's approval for the five-story development at 1050 Valencia Street to rise, a subsequent appeal of the project's building permits resulted in 5-0 vote by San Francisco's Board of Appeals to issue the permits, but under a couple of conditions, including that the developer only build four stories rather than five as approved.

The problem for the Board of Appeals, they might have overstepped their legal bounds.

Following their public meeting, the Board of Appeals will move behind closed doors this evening to meet with legal counsel in anticipation of having to defend against litigation. The likely action would be based on the California Housing Accountability Act which prevents local agencies from reducing the density of code-complying residential projects.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

January 27, 2014

Proposed Presidio Projects Photo Simulated, Ready For Review

With the Presidio Trust Board of Directors set to publicly review the three revised proposals for developing the Presidio's Mid-Crissy Field site tonight, photo simulations to compare the mass and height for each of the projects have been prepared with the existing Sports Basement/Commissary building in place for the sake of comparison.

The simulation for "Scheme 1" of the proposed Lucas Culural Arts Museum which would rise 61 feet to the top of its parapet, 66 feet to the top of its dome (click images to enlarge):

The simulation for "Scheme 2" of the Lucas Culural Arts Museum which would rise 45 feet to the top of its parapet, 50 feet to the top of its atrium skylight:

The simulation for the Presidio Exchange project which would rise 43 feet to the top of its building:

The simulation for the Bridge/Sustainability Institute project which would rise 43 feet to the top of its building:

Additional angles for the photo simulations are available in the Mid-Crissy Field Project photo simulation supplement.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

January 24, 2014

Plans For Nine-Story Polk Gulch Building To Replace G&R Paint Store

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The owner of the one-story G&R Paint Company building and business at 1238 Sutter Street appears to be preparing to jump into the development game with plans to raze the existing Polk Gulch building and construct a 9-story, mixed-use building on the site which fronts Sutter and Fern Streets between Polk and Van Ness Avenue:

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As proposed, the nine-story building would include up to 40 dwelling units, 6 parking spaces for cars and 35 for bikes, and 2,550 square feet of commercial space fronting Sutter Street.

And while zoned for development up to 130 feet, as are the parcels on either side of the lot, the proposed building at 1238 Sutter Street would only rise 88 feet in height.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

January 23, 2014

Recommendations For Implementing An Eco-District In San Francisco

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About to be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission, an update on the plans for developing a Central SoMa "eco-district" and a series of recommendations and detailed strategies for how the eco-district should be implemented.

The eco-district task force's key recommendations around the areas of (1) equitable development, (2) economic development, (3) community building, (4) energy, (5) water, (6) waste, (7) habitat and eco-system function, (8) access and mobility, (9) health and well-being, and (10) the actual implementation of the eco-district:

1.1 Promote Equity and Local Opportunity
2.1 Enhance Local Economic Development
2.2 Create a Resilient Central SoMa
3.1 Foster the creation of new community driven initiatives
3.2 Create an Innovation District
4.1 Establish a Net Zero Carbon Energy District
5.1 Create a district where only non-potable water is used for non-potable uses.
6.1 Strive for a Zero Waste District
7.1 Expand and Enhance Habitat and Eco-System Function
8.1 Reduce Emissions from Transportation
9.1 Leverage Eco-District Projects to Promote Public Health and Well-Being
9.2 Activate Rooftops
10.1 Establish a Steering Committee to Formalize the Eco-District Organization
10.2 Identify Short, Medium and Long Term Goals to Facilitate Eco-District Implementation

The Task Force’s detailed strategies for implementing its aforementioned recommendations: Central SoMa Eco-District: Task Force Recommendations.

The Framework For San Francisco's First Urban Eco-District [SocketSite]

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The $350 Million Plans For Expanding San Francisco’s Moscone Center

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With the total number of annual attendees at events held at the Moscone Center’s North and South buildings – San Francisco’s primary convention, exhibition, and meeting facility – having dropped 20 percent since 2010, a proposed expansion of the Center’s North and South buildings by 20 percent is making its way through Planning.

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The plans, timing, and another rendering of the proposed expansion project for San Francisco’s Moscone Center on Howard between Third and Fourth Streets:

The proposed Moscone Center Expansion Project would increase the gross square footage of the Moscone Center facility by about 20 percent, from approximately 1.2 million square feet to 1.5 million square feet.
Through the expansion, as well as through renovation and repurposing of the existing facility, the project would result in an approximately 42 percent increase in functional space, to about 888,300 square feet from 625,600 square feet, as well as reconfigured support space.

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New construction would be primarily above grade both north and south of Howard Street in buildings up to approximately 95 feet tall. At completion, the expanded Moscone North structure would be approximately 54 feet in height and the Moscone South structure would be approximately 95 feet in height.

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Additional space would be created by excavating in two locations under Howard Street and expanding the existing below‐grade exhibition halls that connect the Moscone North and South buildings. The proposed project would create a total of approximately 580,000 square feet of contiguous exhibition space below ground.
The proposed project would also reconfigure the existing adjacent bus pick‐up and drop off facilities and create two pedestrian bridges spanning Howard Street, which would connect Moscone North and South expansions at the second level above grade.

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A joint project between the Moscone Expansion District, the San Francisco Tourism Improvement District Management Corporation, and the City and County of San Francisco’s Convention Facilities Department, assuming the plans are approved, construction on the Moscone Center Expansion Project is slated to begin this November and be completed approximately 44 months later at an anticipated cost of $350 million.

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

January 17, 2014

The Crest Of Russian Hill Circa 1906 And Plans For Urban Infill

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While the homes on the northern side of Broadway at the crest of Russian Hill survived the great quake and fire in 1906, the former Homer House on the corner of Broadway and Taylor was demolished in 1910 and its rather prime parcel has sat undeveloped since.

Broadway and Taylor

A request to subdivided the parcel into three lots in order to build two big single-family homes and a two-unit building with a total of over 15,000 square feet of space and an underground garage for up to 16 cars (including six spaces for adjacent homes) is on the agenda for San Francisco’s Zoning Administrator next week.

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Having lent $15,000,000 against the property in 2008, the group which was never repaid foreclosed upon the parcel in 2012 and was seeking sealed bids for the parcel and plans with offers due by August 1, 2013, explicitly noting an unwillingness to accept an offer that was "patently frivolous or substantially below market value."

No word on whether a non-frivolous offer ever materialized, but as best we can tell the property is still owned by the hedge fund that foreclosed.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

January 16, 2014

Designs For Mid-Market Building To Replace Den Of Adult Activities

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The design for the proposed 8-story building to replace the adults-only Market Street Cinema incorporates boxed windows spanning multiple floors to create strong vertical lines across its Market Street façade and materials to match the context of the street.

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The Planning Department's reaction to the preliminary design and a peek at the building’s proposed Stevenson Street façade which is a bit more dynamic:

The Planning Department agrees in principle with the project architect’s analysis and objectives of contextual response, and urges adding some of the energy and dynamism of the Stevenson façade into the Market Street expression while retaining the references to the context.
At the same time the Planning Department urges a stronger and more clearly defined base, middle, and top. The offset columnation of the façade to create a base, middle, and top may need to be augmented to give a deeper mottled and textured façade. The Planning Department recommends incorporating stronger horizontal architectural differentiation between the ground floor and second story levels, and at the roof termination. Consider using architectural detailing, such as a belt course or cornice, at the ground floor ceiling height to help frame the pedestrian space of the sidewalk.
The function of the thin ’brise-soleils’ are unclear, and may need further clarification. Any element on Market Street should be given some heft.
The Planning Department recommends more be done to modulate and articulate the façade at the intermediate scale. A building on Market that neighbors other buildings of stature should incorporate materials that relate to the scale or relate to other historic qualities that impart texture or craft of detail or material. Consider creating an intermediate scale by using window groupings, with deep reveals, intermediate spandrels, and further subdivision of windows by mullions.

The aforementioned Stevenson Street façade which includes the entrance to the development's proposed condos, parking garage, and bar:

1075%20Market%20Street%20Rendered%20Rear.gif

Plans For Condos To Replace Prominent Mid-Market Porn Complex [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

January 14, 2014

Plans For Four Stories In The Avenues And A Neighbor Is Appalled

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As proposed, the little two-story building with two small dwelling units and a bit of commercial space on the northwest corner of Clement Street and 26th Avenue will be razed, the parcel will be divided, and two four-story buildings will rise on the site.

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The proposed buildings include a 45-foot-tall building fronting Clement Street with three dwelling units and four parking spaces over a ground floor commercial space and a 40-foot building fronting 26th Avenue with another three dwelling units and parking spaces.

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While San Francisco’s Planning Department recommends the development be approved as proposed, a neighbor vehemently disagrees and demands the application for "such a monstrous design constructed for nothing more than profit" be aborted.

From the "beyond appalled" neighbor to the planner overseeing the project:

I am writing in regards to the above cited address and application. I am beyond appalled that this Building Department would even consider entertaining such a monstrous design constructed for nothing more than profit without consideration for the pre-existing dwellings and families surrounding it. The individual who has submitted this permit has one goal in mind - to reap the greatest amount of personal benefit from this lot without regard for those who have resided next to it for decades.
As the immediate neighbor at 2510 Clement Street, a Four Story Building on my Eastern side would literally knock my lights out. With three stories towering above my one story home – I would NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY. It would not only take away my natural light and place an end to my gardening but cut off my air flow. The size and structure of the building would also tower and overshadow 2512, 2514 as well as 2518 Clement Street which are all TWO story buildings, as is the neighboring building on 26th Avenue. These buildings are homes of long time residents of San Francisco, some with children and others are senior citizens. We deserve respect and consideration.
From the start, Ms. Mary Tom, has vehemently refused to work with the adjacent property owners in designing a building that would be financially beneficial to her as well as respectful to those of us around her. She has gone so far as to up the initial plans for two three story buildings and added an additional fourth story to her permit. There are no words to describe my disgust at this vulgar lack of consideration.. I demand this permit be aborted.
I will be looking forward to hearing from you.

San Francisco's Planning Commission is slated to review the application tomorrow afternoon.

UPDATE: Another perspective on the project site which might shine some light on the situation and help explain the neighbor's ire:

395%2026th%20Avenue%20Site%20Avenue%20Front.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (74) | (email story)

A Density Carrot And TIC Stick In San Francisco

Supervisor Scott Wiener is preparing to introduce legislation which would allow developers in San Francisco to increase the density of a building in exchange for designating 20 percent of a development's units as "affordable" as opposed to the 12 percent as currently required by law.

While Wiener's legislation would not change existing height or bulk restrictions for a building, it would allow for a greater number of smaller units to be built within a development's envelope.

As Wiener prepares to propose a carrot, Supervisor Eric Mar is expected to introduce a stick in the form of legislation which would require Planning Department approval in order to establish a new tenancy-in-common (TIC). An attempt to regulate an ownership structure versus property use is tailor made for a legal fight and likely defeat.

S.F. affordable housing, TIC conversion measures planned [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

January 13, 2014

Measure To Limit Waterfront Building Heights Summarized

The petition for the proposed Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act which would prohibit increasing the existing building height limits for any parcel along 7-1/2 miles of San Francisco's waterfront unless explicitly approved by the City's voters is in the process of being circulated.

The sponsors of the measure to limit building heights have until February 3, 2014 to gather and submit 9,702 valid signatures in order to qualify the measure for the June ballot.

The official summary and background for the measure and what it would prevent/require:

The City and Country of San Francisco, through its Port Commission, owns and controls about 7-1/2 miles of the San Francisco waterfront along the San Francisco Bay. That property includes piers, land near the piers, and land on the west side of The Embarcadero roadway. The City holds most of its waterfront in public trust for the benefit of the State’s people, and this public trust restricts the allowable uses of that property. In 1990 the City’s voters adopted Proposition H, which required the City to prepare a comprehensive waterfront land use plan with maximum feasible public input. Consistent with Proposition H and the public trust requirements, the Port Commission adopted a comprehensive land use plan that governs acceptable waterfront uses. The City’s zoning laws regulate development of buildings and other structures on that property, including the maximum allowed height. Generally, changes in the height limit require approval of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
This measure would prevent any City agency or office from permitting development on the waterfront to exceed the height limit in effect as of January 1, 2014, unless the City’s voters approve the height limit increase. The measure defines "waterfront" as public trust property that the State transferred to the City to be placed under the control of the San Francisco Port Commission, as well as any other property that the Port owns or controls as of January 1, 2014 or later acquires. This measure also would require that the ballot question on a measure to increase height limits on any part of the waterfront specify both the existing and proposed height limits.

If the measure is passed, not only would the proposed 125-foot-tall arena for the Warriors upon San Francisco's Pier 30-32 need to be approved by voters, but also the development of the Giants' proposed Mission Rock neighborhood along with a number of other waterfront developments in the works.

SF Arena Threat: The Waterfront Height Limit Right To Vote Act [SocketSite]
Voter Approval for Waterfront Development Height Increases Summary [sfgov2.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

January 10, 2014

Campos Calls For Mayor To Commit To Regulating Tenant Buyouts

With San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors having unanimously approved a resolution to urge State legislators to amend state law and allow the city of San Francisco to penalize landlords for invoking the Ellis Act to evict tenants, next week Supervisor David Campos will ask Mayor Lee to publicly commit to working with him on legislation to regulate the buyout of tenants as well.

The early framework for Campos' legislation proposed to categorize buyouts as evictions, a categorization which could affect a building's ability to condo convert and restrict an owner's ability to charge market rate rents to new tenants.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (64) | (email story)

January 9, 2014

The Landmark Loophole And Plan To Convert The SF Design Center

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A plan to convert over two-thirds of the San Francisco Design Center at 2 Henry Adams Street from designer showroom space to general office use is in the works, a use which is currently disallowed as the 330,000 square foot building is zoned for Production, Distribution & Repair (PDR).

While the planned conversion flies in the face of a key objective of San Francisco's recently adopted Showplace Square/Potrero Hill Area Plan, a plan which actively seeks to preserve the supply of PDR space within the district and city, there is a landmark loophole.

As we first reported last year, another key objective of the Showplace Square/Potrero Hill Area Plan is to ensure the economic viability of historically significant buildings, providing an exception for the conversion of such buildings to office use. And as such, the owners of 2 Henry Adams were planning to seek a Landmark Designation for the building which would clear the way for its conversion.

The owners of 2 Henry Adams have since formally filed their request to initiate a landmark designation for the building which was built for the Dunham, Carrigan & Hayden Company in 1915 and served as the corporate offices, warehouse and distribution facility for the company, a wholesale steel and hardware importer/distributor.

Next week, San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission is slated to consider the request to landmark the building with a preliminary recommendation to initiate the designation.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

January 7, 2014

Rezoning A Landmark To Enable Development Elsewhere

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Sitting on a Mid-Market parcel which is zoned for building up to 120 feet in height, a reader worries that a zoning change in the works for 133-135 Golden Gate Avenue upon which the St. Boniface Church and Rectory sits could be a precursor to plans for razing the landmark church in order to make way for more "cookie cutter condos."

Fear not Landmark lovers nor proponents of density either, the proposed zoning change for the St. Boniface Church and Rectory site is simply intended to allow the church to sell off the development rights associated with the parcel's potential, allowing another site in the San Francisco to be developed with greater density but not any additional height, per se.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

January 6, 2014

Will San Francisco's Planning Commission Just Do It For Nike?

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With the Metro Theater conversion nearing completion next door, San Francisco's Planning Commission is set to vote on whether to allow Nike to take over and renovate the former Rugby storefront at 2071 Union Street which has sat vacant since January of 2013.

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Despite being formula retail, the Planning Department recommends the Commission approve Nike’s bid to occupy the space and "enhance the economic diversity of the neighborhood."

The Planning Department recommended the Commission allow Pet Foot Express to renovate the long-shuttered Blockbuster location a half-mile away on Lombard as well, a recommendation the Commission rejected four months ago, deeming it "not necessary or desirable."

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

SF Arena Threat: The Waterfront Height Limit Right To Vote Act

A few of the forces behind the successful No Wall on The Waterfront ballot measure which stopped the development of 8 Washington Street in its tracks are working on another measure which would prohibit increasing the existing maximum building height limit for any parcel along San Francisco's waterfront unless explicitly approved by the voters.

Aiming to be included on the June ballot and currently being processed, petitioners for the proposed Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act should soon start appearing on a corner near you.

The existing height limit for San Francisco's Pier 30-32 upon which the Golden State Warriors would like to build their 125-foot tall arena is 40 feet.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (35) | (email story)

Hines Preparing Application To Build 16-Story Rincon Hill Tower

525 Harrison Street Site

Hines is preparing to formally file their application to demolish the two-story Factory club at 525 Harrison Street and construct a 16-story residential building on the Rincon Hill parcel:

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As we first reported in May, the preliminary design called for 184 units over 2,500 square feet of ground floor retail (which could possibly be configured as a leasing office for the wedge shaped building at the corner of Harrison and Essex) and up to 164 stacked parking spaces on the site.

Hines will present their plans to interested neighbors on-site tomorrow evening at six.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

January 3, 2014

Shorenstein’s Proposed Mid-Market Development Rendered

While Shorenstein’s proposed "Mid-Market" development between Jones and Taylor would rise a slender twelve stories along Market Street, the majority of the 301-unit building would rise an effective 14 stories on the parking lot behind which slopes up Jones to Golden Gate Avenue.

Along Golden Gate Avenue, the Arquitectonica designed facade would rise 13 stories from the street with the majority of the ground floor proposed for "active use" but currently undefined:

In addition to a proposed 112 underground parking spaces for cars, the designs for the 1066 Market Street development includes a secured room with space to park 310 bikes.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

The Mayor's Resolve To Rein In Speculative Evictions

Concerned that the Ellis Act is increasingly "being used, not by long-term owners of rental property as the law intended, but instead by new owners who purchase the building with the intent of evoking the Ellis Act purely for speculative purposes," the Mayor and Supervisors Campos, Chiu and Cohen are pushing forward with a resolution to stem the tide of speculative evictions in San Francisco.

While the resolution itself is mostly symbolic, it sets the stage for an effort to urge Bay Area legislators to amend state law and return greater control over the Ellis Act to local municipalities and it establishes a foundation for the Mayor and Supervisors to pursue local strategies to financially penalize an owner for invoking the Ellis Act by restricting the buy-outs of tenants and increasing required relocation assistance for tenants that are displaced.

A state bill to amend the Ellis Act so that only property owners who had owned a property for at least 5 years would be able to invoke the Ellis Act to evict tenants was proposed back in 2007 but died on the Senate floor.

A Rush To Restrict Ellis Act Evictions And Buyouts In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

January 2, 2014

Short-Sited Plans For Mission Street Between Seventh And Tenth?

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The south side of Mission Street between 7th and 10th Streets was "orphaned" by recent planning efforts in the area, slipping between the cracks of the Mid-Market, Market and Octavia, and Western SoMa plans.

As proposed and sponsored by Supervisor Kim, the parcels on the south side of Mission Street between 7th and 9th Streets will be absorbed into the East SoMa Plan while those to west of 9th Street will be adopted by the Market and Octavia Plan.

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Despite the fact that San Francisco is currently facing a housing and office space crunch, for the most part the parcels will remained zoned for buildings of no more than 65 feet in height along one of San Francisco's busiest corridors with easy access to public transportation, flat streets for bicycling, and which is adjacent to the City's booming Mid-Market hub.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

December 31, 2013

Plans For Another Twelve-Story Mid-Market/Tenderloin Tower

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Shorenstein Properties has filed preliminary plans to build a 12-story residential building designed by Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica on a parcel which fronts Market Street between Jones and Taylor but is primarily the parking lot on the southeast corner of Jones and Golden Gate Ave.

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The proposed 1066 Market Street development includes 301 apartments with 111 two-bedrooms, 55 one-bedrooms, and the rest a mix of studios and "junior ones" according to the Business Times.

In addition to the apartments, preliminary plans include 2,000 square feet of new retail space along Market Street and 3,500 square feet of (legal) "active use" along Golden Gate Avenue and Jones. Parking for 112 cars would be built underground.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

December 27, 2013

Plans For 12-Story Building Could Transform A Tenderloin Block

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Having been banned from the church for being disruptive, a protester has been stationed outside the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist’s building at 450 O'Farrell Street on a near daily basis for over a year, accusing the Church of having turned a blind eye to the boarded-up property it owns next door, "leaving hard drugs, blight, and homelessness to dominate its state" and surroundings.

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Perhaps due in part to the protesting, but more likely driven by the Mid-Market boom which is spilling over into the Tenderloin, the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist has quietly drawn up plans to raze its columned church and adjacent boarded-up storefronts and construct a twelve-story building in their place, rising 130 feet with 97 individual dwelling units and 74 group housing units over a new 10,000-square-foot church, 6,000 square feet of retail, and 100 parking spaces.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

December 26, 2013

SoMa Rising: Plans For Up To Fifty New Units On Folsom Street

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Plans to largely demolish the auto repair shop at 1465 Folsom Street and construct a five-story vertical addition with between forty (40) and fifty (50) new dwelling units have been submitted to San Francisco’s Planning Department for their preliminary review and reaction.

As proposed, the five-story addition would be setback from the existing building's facades on Folsom and Juniper and the ground floor of the development would become 3,384 square feet of commercial space along Folsom Street, a bit of interior open space, and a 28-space garage.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

December 24, 2013

San Francisco Officially Bids For Another America's Cup

In a letter to sent to Oracle Team USA's CEO yesterday, Mayor Ed Lee has officially expressed San Francisco's interest in hosting the 35th America’s Cup in 2017, but with a few changes.

As proposed, the America’s Cup Park and Pavilion would return to Pier 27-29 and the teams would be based upon Pier 27-29 as well rather than on Pier 30-32. Marina Green would once again serve as the secondary venue for Cup viewing and concessions.

The City would like the months-long schedule for the Cup to be condensed and is not offering any development rights nor long-term transfers of real estate as part of their proposal.

Race organizers are expected to pick the host city for the 35th America's Cup by March 1, 2014.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

December 23, 2013

Presentation Of Proposals For Presidio Redevelopment Set

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With the National Park Service having expressed their serious concerns about George Lucas' proposed Cultural Arts Museum and strongly recommending that the Presidio Trust defer any decisions with respect to redeveloping the Presidio's former Commissary and current Sports Basement site for several years, the Presidio Trust Board of Directors meeting to review the revised proposals for the Mid-Crissy Field site ought to be a lively affair.

The public meeting and presentation has been scheduled for January 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

December 19, 2013

Four-Story Marina Building Approved To Rise

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The proposed four-story building to be built on the south side of Lombard between Pierce and Scott has been approved to rise with 21 market rate dwelling units over ground floor retail and parking.

Posted by socketadmin at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

December 18, 2013

Speaking For The Trees In San Francisco: The Urban Forest Plan

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Once a largely treeless landscape of grassy hills and sand dunes, there are now an estimated 670,000 trees growing in the "Urban Forest" of San Francisco with an estimated 105,000 street trees located in the public right-of-way.

In collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Friends of the Urban Forest, San Francisco's Planning Department is now working on a plan to promote San Francisco's Urban Forest with a primary focus on managing and growing the city's street tree population, a population which could grow by upwards of 50,000 new trees over the next 20 years.

In conjunction with the Urban Forest Plan, a Municipal Street Tree Program under which the Department of Public Works (DPW) would assume the responsibility for the planting and maintenance of all street trees in San Francisco is also being considered.

Under a comprehensive municipal street tree program, property owners who currently care for street trees would no longer be required to maintain trees or repair sidewalks damaged as a result of a street tree. In addition, the City would cover the liability associated with tree-related sidewalk falls, which have averaged just over $23,000 per claim over the past eight years.
A municipal program would save property owners between $10 and $65 per tree annually compared to current costs (estimated at between $160 and $175 annually) incurred for maintenance, sidewalk repair and claims associated with sidewalk falls.

Funding to execute the Urban Forest Plan would likely come by way of General Obligation bonds, state grants, capital improvement funds or contributions while a parcel tax tiered by street frontage has been recommended for funding the municipal street tree program.

The first draft of San Francisco's Urban Forest Plan will be published next month.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (45) | (email story)

December 17, 2013

San Francisco's Housing Pipeline Breaks The 50,000 Unit Mark

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While only 1,600 new housing units were completed in San Francisco over the past year and commercial space in the city declined by 183,000 square feet (due to conversions to residential use), there are now over 6,000 housing units under construction in the City which should hit the market over the next year or two along with 900,000 feet of commercial space.

Building permits for another 9,500 housing units in San Francisco have either been approved or requested, units which should start hitting the market in two to four years along with another 5,000,000 square feet of commercial space.

In addition to the nearly 16,000 housing units which are either under construction, ready to break ground, or waiting for a permit, another 27,000 housing units have been entitled to be built in San Francisco which includes 10,500 units by Candlestick, 7,800 units on Treasure Island and 5,680 units in Park-Merced, projects which still have timelines measured in decades, not years.

And with plans for an additional 7,650 housing units on the boards, San Francisco's Housing Pipeline currently totals over 50,000 units. For context, a total of roughly 12,000 housing units have been built in San Francisco since 2007; a total of 26,000 new units since 2000.

With respect to commercial development in San Francisco, in addition to the nearly 6,000,0000 square feet already under construction, ready to break ground or awaiting a permit, plans for another 6,000,000 square feet of commercial development have been approved.

A breakdown of the residential developments in the works across San Francisco by neighborhood, not including those at Candlestick, Park-Merced or Treasure Island (click the chart to enlarge):

San Francisco Pipeline Report: Third Quarter 2013 [sf-planning.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (42) | (email story)

December 13, 2013

Tweaks To Activate Mission Rock's Streets And Neighborhood

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As we noted yesterday when we first reported the accelerated timing for the Giants' proposed Mission Rock development upon their Parking Lot A and adjacent Pier 48, while the development's 2,300 space parking garage had originally been designed to abut Third Street at the southern edge of the site, a narrow building is now proposed to be built between the garage and Third with 50,000 square feet of commercial space over 7,000 square feet of ground floor retail.

The 790,000 square foot garage which would rise up to 100-feet high on the remainder of Parcel D would include 15,000 square feet of retail on its ground floor as well.

Another subtle tweak to the Mission Rock plan, an interior shared public way one block east of Third, extending between Bosque and Exposition Streets:

This shared public way, which would prioritize pedestrians over bicycles and automobiles, would consist of a single shared paved surface with no curbs or gutters. Automobiles would be able to access it from the adjoining streets via curb-cuts similar to a typical driveway. The prioritized pedestrian right-of-way would be delineated through the placement of street furniture and landscaping. The shared public right-of-way would make it possible for adjoining retail or restaurants to utilize the street sidewalks for outdoor seating and retail space, with vehicular access limited primarily to deliveries, drop-offs/pick-ups or emergency vehicles.

The shared public way would be closed to all vehicles, except emergency, when games or other major events were scheduled at the ballpark.

Posted by socketadmin at 4:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

From Failed Bites To Building Up On Lombard Street A Bit

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A long suffering space for a slew of failed restaurants, the one-story building at 2353 Lombard between Pierce and Scott will be razed and a four-story building with 21 residential units over 2,700 square feet of commercial space will be constructed on the site if approved.

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The mix of proposed units includes three one-bedrooms of around 700 square feet and eighteen two-bedrooms ranging in size from 1,138 to 1,264 square feet. With plans to pay an in-lieu fee rather than include any below market rate (BMR) units in the building, the entire development will be market rate as proposed.

The entrance to the building's 28 space garage would be from both Lombard and behind. A 2,500 square foot roof deck would serve as the development's common open space:

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On the agenda for San Francisco's Planning Commission next week, the Planning Department recommends the project be approved as proposed.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (33) | (email story)

The Push To Legalize Up To 40,000 Illegal Units In San Francisco

With an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 dwelling units having been illegally built in the basements, garages and attics of buildings throughout San Francisco, units which often meet life and safety standards and may only require exceptions from density, open space, and other Planning Code requirements in order to become legal, an ordinance to provide a proposed process for legalizing the units has been drafted.

Unless a significant number of the illegal units are currently being kept off the market out of respect for the law, the proposed ordinance wouldn't actually expand the effective supply of housing units in the City, but it could help the city ensure that the units are safe and habitable and allow the City to include the units in their official counts and reports of housing supply.

If passed, challenges with illegal unit owner's adoption of the ordinance include a legitimization of rent control for both the unit and the building it's within and relocation expenses for tenants should the city find a unit is in need of work in order to be legalized.

And while intended to help ease San Francisco's current housing crunch, an unintended consequence of the ordinance could be an effective increase in rents as illegal units which are being rented at below market rates in exchange for flying below the City's radar would no longer require a discount.

Language to Legalize Dwelling Units Installed Without a Permit [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (33) | (email story)

December 12, 2013

Timing For Giants' Massive Mission Rock Development Moved Up

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The target timing for the Giants' massive Mission Rock development has been moved up by a year with work on the first phase, which includes a tower up to 320 feet in height, now slated to commence in 2015. Click the map of the development with building heights and uses to enlarge.

Phase 1 of the Mission Rock development includes parcels A, B, and C along Third Street and a 2,300 space parking garage at the corner of Third and Mission Rock (parcel D). While the redevelopment of Pier 48 upon which Anchor Brewing is planning to build another brewery had tentatively been scheduled for Phase 4, it has been accelerated and split between phases 1 and 2. Phase 1 could be ready for occupancy in 2018.

The construction of Phase 2 which includes parcels G and K and the five-acre China Basin Park is now slated to commence in 2016 with occupancy by 2019. Construction of Phase 3 which includes parcels E and F and Mission Rock Square would commence in 2017 and be ready in 2020 with a residential tower rising up to 380 feet in height.

The final phase of the Giants' Mission Rock development includes parcels H, I and J with construction now slated to commence in 2018 and occupancy in 2021, a year earlier than originally projected.

Fully developed, the Mission Rock project will yield up to 1.6 million square feet of commercial space, up to 1,500 residential units, and between 150,000 and 250,000 square feet of retail/entertainment use with retail planned to be included on the lower floors of each building, including the Third Street frontage of the parking garage.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

December 11, 2013

Alta Vista School Drafts Plans To Double In Size

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The Alta Vista School moved from 3,500 square feet of start-up space in 2012 to a one-acre Portola campus at 450 Somerset Street with a three-story school building of 23,000 square feet, a two-car garage, and a paved play yard which doubles as parking for the adjacent church.

With a current enrolment of around 160 students, the school has drafted plans to raze the garage along Wayland and construct a second three-story building of 21,000 square feet on the site with classrooms, administrative space, and a landscaped green roof with open space for the students. The paved play yard would be reconfigured with play/sports areas, a garden and new landscaping. A parking pad for six cars would be provided at the rear of the site.

With the proposed addition, the Alta Vista School would be able to accommodate an enrolment of up to 420 students.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

December 9, 2013

Panning (And Planning) For Liquid Gold On Hyde Street

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If approved, the 1,346 square foot former ReJoyce Books store across from the Nob Hill Trader Joe’s and CVS on Hyde Street will be turned into Liquid Gold, "a public beer and wine tasting room and retail store specializing in local craft beer and small-batch wines."

Despite opposition from one vocal member of the public who is concerned with an over-concentration of bars, alcohol related criminal activity, and an "influx of chronic inebriates occupying sidewalks" in the Lower Nob Hill neighborhood, the Planning Department is recommending that the Planning Commission approve Liquid Gold’s application to operate at 1040 Hyde Street.

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

The Second Church of Christ Scientist's Second Coming As Condos

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A plan to raze the Second Church of Christ Scientist church on the southeast corner of Dolores and Cumberland and build a smaller church and eight dwelling units on the site was drafted back in 2006 but ran into a wall of neighborhood opposition and was never approved.

Having since been yellow-tagged by the City as an unreinforced masonry building which doesn’t meet current seismic standards, plans to reinforce the building and convert the vacant 22,000 square foot church into four residential units are moving forward with the Planning Department's recommendation that the proposed conversion be approved this week.

As we first reported about the proposed "Light House" project in September, new partition walls within the existing auditorium and mezzanine would divide the space for three of the new dwelling units while an all new penthouse level would be created by raising the suspended ceiling seven feet and adding a new 3,020 square foot floor beneath the dome:

As proposed, the existing surface parking lot behind the church would be converted into a landscaped garden and a four car garage would be constructed in the basement (click to enlarge).

The estimated construction cost for the conversion is "between $1,165,000 and $2,200,000" and will take nine months with projected occupancy in the spring of 2015 if approved.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

Will See’s Succeed While Starbucks And Chipotle Were Rejected?

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San Francisco's Planning Commission recently adopted "a standardized method for determining the existing and appropriate concentration of formula retail uses in the Upper Market Neighborhood that extends from Octavia Boulevard to Castro Street," a policy which requires the Planning Department to recommend the rejection of any project which would bring the concentration of formula retail within 300 feet of a site to 20 percent or greater.

This week, the Commission will decided whether to selectively reject their adopted standard and approve the application for See's Candies to take over the Mike's Cameras spot in the Safeway Shopping Center on Market Street, an existing formula retail site with a 33 percent concentration.

While recommending See's application be denied as is required per the standard, the Planning Department does have this to say about the proposal:

The proposed formula retail use will replace a pre-existing formula retail store and continue to add to the neighborhood character and diversity. Formula retail businesses offering similar products have a competitive advantage over non-formula retail businesses because they are often better capitalized and therefore can commit to longer and more expensive leases. This can make for fewer storefront vacancies and more neighborhood stability.

The Planning Commission's standard was the basis for rejecting proposals from Starbucks and Chipotle to take over two vacant spaces on Market Street, in part due to an argument that formula retailers have an unfair competitive advantage and drive up rents versus providing a stabilizing effect.

There are currently nine vacant commercial storefronts within the Upper Market Neighborhood.

The Chips Don’t Fall In Chipotle’s Favor: Request Denied [SocketSite]
Starbucks' Market Street Plan Shot Down By Planning [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

December 6, 2013

Designs For Group Housing On Market Street 2.0

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As we first reported last month, plans to raze the two-story FastFrame building on the northwest corner of Market and Gough and build a 7-story building with 42 "single room occupancy" units over 1,500 square feet of ground floor retail have been submitted to Planning for review.

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While the Market Octavia plan requires 40 percent of all new developments in the area to be two-bedrooms, group housing is exempted from the rule. And with "limited individual kitchen facilities" in each of the 42 proposed units rooms and a shared kitchen and gathering area, the 1700 Market Street project is positioned as group housing with market-rate rents.

The concept floor plans for the rooms which range in size from 280 to 530 square feet:

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The proposed mezzanine level with the communal "group" kitchen, lounge and meeting room:

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And the ground floor plan with parking for 25 bikes and no autos:

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A shared 1,500 square foot roof deck would serve as the required open space for the building.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (88) | (email story)

December 5, 2013

The Plan To Transform Central SoMa's Streets

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Acknowledging that the existing Central SoMa transportation network isn't sufficient today, much less sufficient to support a potential doubling of residents and workers in the area as proposed, a plan to improve the network, streets, and environment for pedestrians in SoMa has been drafted.

The six key principles that guided the development of the draft plan:

1. Create a safe, convenient, attractive environment for pedestrians
2. Design transit routes to serve the area and improve performance
3. Improve bicycling conditions
4. Employ Transportation Demand Management Measures
5. Restrict curb cuts
6. Where and when necessary, accommodate regional and through traffic

Proposed improvements include a plethora of new mid-block crosswalks, wider sidewalks, cycle tracks and the redevelopment of Folsom Street as a civic boulevard as has long been proposed.

The Impact Study for the proposed transportation plan should be finalized by May of 2014 with a Draft Environmental Report for the project slated to be ready in September.

Central SoMa Transportation Network Plan Presentation [sfmta]
Are The Big Plans For San Francisco's Central Corridor Big Enough? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (57) | (email story)

December 3, 2013

Plans And Timing For Pier 70's Historic Rehab Revealed

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With Forest City having secured initial Port and City endorsements for their plan to develop a mixed-use neighborhood on the Waterfront Site of San Francisco's Pier 70 with up to 2.2 million square feet of office space; 400,000 square feet of retail, cultural, and maker uses; 1,000 housing units and 7 acres of parks, Orton Development is preparing to seek San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approval for their plans to rehabilitate Pier 70's Historic Core, eight large buildings and two smaller structures located on or near 20th Street which are owned by the Port of San Francisco.

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The historic buildings include 270,000 square feet of existing space to which around 69,000 square feet of new space, primarily in mezzanines, will be added. Once rehabilitated, the historic office and industrial buildings will be used for a range of businesses, including light industrial, technology, life science, office, artisan/artist studios and showrooms, and restaurants.

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The top four floors of the Bethlehem Steel Office Building at the corner of Illinois and 20th Streets (Building 101) will return to office use while the building’s commissary on the lower level will likely be used for food production or light industrial use. Multiple offers from "well-established San Francisco restaurateurs" have already been received for building 102 next door:

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The former UIW headquarters and Navy Hospital Office (Building 104) will return to office use while the warehouse buildings (113/114, 115/116, and 14) will become "food, technology, life science, biotech, education and arts production centers, mirroring the high-quality "maker" type businesses currently thriving in the Dogpatch neighborhood" with office, showroom and retail uses as well.

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The 45,000 square foot machine shop courtyard behind Pier 70's historic warehouse buildings will be used as an outdoor venue for public and private events, including farmer's markets, concerts, exhibitions and festivals throughout the year.

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Assuming the Orton's plans are approved by the Board this month, construction is slated to commence in early 2014 with the first tenancy of building 101 planned for April 2015 and the overall rehabilitation of Pier 70's historic core to be completed by the end of 2016.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

December 2, 2013

Zoned For 400 Feet In Height, 200 Feet Proposed For 300 California

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The eight-story building at 300 California Street was constructed in 1946, rising 112 feet in height with 77 parking spaces for autos in an underground garage below. A plan to raze the building and build 20 stories on the site was proposed back in 1996 but abandoned.

On the boards since 2007, a plan to simply add four stories atop the existing building at the corner of California and Battery has been dusted-off, a plan which will bring the downtown building's height to 192 feet in an area zoned for the development up to 400.

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A 1,200 square foot publicly-accessible rooftop garden would be built as part of the project.

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As the expanded 300 California Street building and corner would look fully rendered:

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San Francisco's Planning Department is recommending that the City's Planning Commission approve the four story addition as proposed this week.

300%20California%20Rendered%20Street.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

November 27, 2013

More Height And Housing In The Mission And Planning's Thoughts

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Purchased for $1,300,000 three months ago, plans to demolish the auto repair shop at 1900 Mission Street on the corner of 15th and construct a six-story building with nine dwelling units, eight parking spaces, 650 square feet of ground floor retail and 1,670 feet of office space on the second floor have been quietly submitted to San Francisco’s Planning Department for review.

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Finding that the use and massing are appropriate for the site in general, the Planning Department did provide the following comments with respect to the preliminary design:

The Planning Department appreciates the height given to the ground floor, and suggests that more could be done to allow that to be apparent. A means of achieving this may include reducing the depth of the horizontal band and adding height to the storefront. The horizontal banding at the top of the ground floor provides a strong base defining feature, however to augment the articulation of the facades, the ledge should not project further than approximately 6 inches.
In general, the repetitive elements along the Mission street façade should be executed with exceptional materials and detailing. While the bay spacing is extremely rigorous, some thought should be given to alternative spacing and groupings of the bays. The detailing should serve to further the architectural themes and impart scale and texture to all visible facades. Windows should be recessed from the exterior by a minimum of 2 inches.
Please consider adding functional aspects that contribute to the façade composition and details, such as Juliette balconies, and brise-soleils [and] consider using the bay projections to help terminate the building at the roof, perhaps incorporating the rhythm into the parapet system.
More should be made of the corner. The corner should receive an improved treatment other than the proposed opaque wall. The Planning Department recommends the corner be expressed with a distinct design treatment, differentiated from the body of the building, while still relating to the massing, proportions, and scale of the rest of the building. It may be desirable to combine the bays at the corner to achieve this effect. Alternatively, consideration could be given to emphasizing the Mission Street height and façade as a distinct architectural element, perhaps with more transparency and less austerity, which could achieve a similar effect.

The existing lease for the operators of the garage expires on March 31, 2014.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

The Designs For Apple's Proposed Union Square Store Plaza

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As part of the design for Apple's proposed flagship store on Union Square, the Grand Hyatt Hotel Plaza between the existing Levi’s Store and Grand Hyatt Hotel will be reconfigured.

In addition to moving Ruth Asawa's San Francisco Fountain a little to the north and a foot closer to the street, the rectangular tree-lined plaza behind the proposed Apple store would terminate at a new water feature wall at the west end of the plaza with concrete benches, large planter boxes, and a stone-paved area for tables and chairs between.

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Recessed light fixtures would illuminate the plaza, fountain and wall of water at night:

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Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

November 26, 2013

High Speed Rail Ruling Threatens Transbay Terminal Plan As Well

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny has ruled that California's High Speed Rail Authority cannot access the $9 billion in bonds that voters had approved for the HSR project back in 2008. While the ruling doesn’t kill HSR in California outright, it does drive a significant stake, or sharp tie, through the project's pocketbook. From the LA Times:

Kenny ruled that the state does not have a valid financing plan, which was required under the 2008 bond measure, Proposition 1A. The measure included provisions intended to ensure the state did not start the project if it did not have all of the necessary funds to complete a self-supporting, initial operating segment.
The state rail agency created a funding plan, but it was an estimated $25 billion short of the amount needed to complete a first working section of the line.
Kenny ruled that the state must rescind the plan and create a new one, a difficult task because the state High-Speed Rail Authority hasn't identified sources of additional revenue to allocate to the project.

In addition, Kenny ruled officials "made critical errors in approving the sale of the bonds" and declined to legally validate their sale but did refuse to grant a request to stop California's HSR project in its tracks or cancel construction contracts which have already been issued.

The state has argued it can use federal grant funds, which are not subject to the conditions of Proposition 1A, to start construction. But eventually the state will have to match federal grant funds. Without access to bond funds, the legislature would have to appropriate money from a different source.

The ruling doesn't only threaten California's High Speed Rail project but also the 1.4 mile extension of Caltrain from Forth and King to San Francisco's new Transbay Transit Center, a billion-dollar-plus project which would have to be funded by the City and Caltrain if the dollars for HSR fall short.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (144) | (email story)

November 25, 2013

The Final Map For 115 Miles Of Green Connections To Crisscross SF

San Francisco's Green Connections Map

The final map for 115 miles of walking and biking paths to crisscross San Francisco will be officially unveiled next week on December 4, along with the conceptual plans for the first six "Green Connections" in the Bayview, Chinatown, Potrero Hill, Tenderloin, Visitacion Valley, and Western Addition neighborhoods.

As we first reported last year when the draft map and 25 proposed routes were announced, the goal of San Francisco's "Green Connections" project is to improve non-motorized access to San Francisco's parks, open space and waterfront by re-envisioning target City streets and paths as a network of 'green connectors' to be landscaped, traffic calmed, and improved for pedestrian and bicycle access over the next twenty years.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (75) | (email story)

November 21, 2013

Plans For Two Jack London Square Towers And Nearly 700 Units

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Having completed the first phase of its redevelopment of Oakland's Jack London Square in 2008, Ellis Partners' plan was to add a 120,000 square foot office/retail building at the corner of Broadway and Embarcadero and a 135,000 square foot office building on Embarcadero between Harrison and Alice. Instead, two residential towers with up to 665 units are now being proposed for phase two.

The new plan calls for "two housing towers of more than 20 stories" on the parcels and the city of Oakland appears to be supportive of the change from commercial to residential use, "as long as it activates the area and [they] become landmarks for the neighborhood."

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (68) | (email story)

November 18, 2013

Banning Tour Buses From Around Alamo Square While Allowing The Big Tech Shuttles To Roll. For Now.

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On the agenda for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors tomorrow, a hearing to consider the two proposed options for restricting the operation of tour buses within San Francisco’s historic Alamo Square neighborhood which currently averages about a bus every 7.5 minutes during the day.

Option 1 would prohibit commercial vehicles with nine or more seats on all streets north of Fell Street, east of Divisadero Street, south of Golden Gate Avenue and west of Webster Street and move the existing tour bus loading zone on the north side of Fell Street just west of Divisadero to the north side of Fell Street just east of Pierce:

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Option 2 is the same as Option 1 except it would allow enclosed tour buses to drive, but not stop or slow for pictures, on Hayes Street between Divisadero and Webster.

The Alamo Square Neighborhood Association plans to be out in force to ask for Option 1 to be adopted while also voicing their concern that tour buses will not pull all the way up to the curb at the relocated loading zone, effectively blocking a lane of traffic on Fell Street.

Fear not tech commuters, employer shuttle buses which currently make up about a third of the commercial bus traffic in the area above would be exempted from the proposed restrictions. That being said...

UPDATE: A plugged-in reader adds: "I sat in on this meeting, twice, with people who live in Alamo Square. I assure you that association doesn't want the tech buses either, but as this is two separate issues, the tech bus problem will make it to the board eventually."

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

November 15, 2013

Designs For Developing Half A City Block Along Hayes

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As we first reported last week, the Emerald Fund is quietly working on plans to raze the 108-foot building at 150 Van Ness Avenue and build a half-block building rising 12 stories on the site, and we now have the renderings for the development that's being proposed.

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Once again, the building would rise up to 120 feet high and house 429 apartments averaging 734 square feet apiece, running the length of Hayes Street from Van Ness to Polk Street:

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And as proposed, 9,000 square feet of retail would be constructed on the ground floor of the building with parking for 215 cars and 207 bikes in a level below.

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Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

San Francisco's Certified 2013 Election Results

With late vote-by-mail and provisional ballots having been added over the past week, the San Francisco election results from November 5, 2013 have just been certified and the final count for the number of ballots cast is 128,937 which represents 29.3 percent of registered voters, 66 percent of which voted by mail.

The final count for the percentage of NO votes cast on Measures B and C is 62.79 and 66.96 percent respectively with 84,083 NO votes cast on Measure C, a vote which reversed the Mayor's supported increase in allowable height for the development of 8 Washington Street.

As a reader originally pointed out, when Mayor Ed Lee was elected in 2011, an election with an effective turnout of over 40 percent of San Francisco voters and 196,756 ballots cast, the Mayor garnered a total of 84,457 votes.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

Plans To Renovate And Restore SF's Alamo Square Park

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A three-phased plan to renovate and restore San Francisco's 13-acre Alamo Square Park over the course of six months is undergoing an environmental and architectural review.

The proposed Alamo Square Park project includes the renovation of the existing restroom near the center of the park; the construction of a new single stall restroom near the park’s playground; and a makeover of the park's landscaping, including the incorporation of water conserving lawn alternatives with a goal of reducing water use in the park by over 2,500,000 gallons a year.

The historic portion of the park's existing restroom facility which was constructed in 1914/15 will be restored, its metal doors replaced with metal gates designed to reference metal grills of the period. Inside, both the Men's and Women's facilities will be expanded with an additional toilet for a total of three on each side.

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The new unisex restroom to be constructed just north of the existing children’s play area will be a contemporary cylindrical design of poured concrete, "intended to play upon the curvilinear shape and concrete perimeter walls of the adjacent children’s play area, integrating it into the park landscape while at the same time articulating its modern era origin."

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Plant beds at entrances and underutilized sloping areas along Fulton and Scott Streets of the park will receive new drought tolerant landscaping to reduce water demand and areas below dense tree canopies will receive new understory shrub plantings. And after the installation of a new irrigation system, the majority of the park's lawn will receive all new sod.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

November 14, 2013

Plans For An Upscale Seven-Story SRO Building On Market Street

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Plans to raze the two-story commercial building occupied by Fastframe and a few offices on the northwest corner of Market and Gough and build a 7-story mixed-use building on the parcel has quietly been submitted to San Francisco’s Planning Department for review.

The proposed 75-foot-high building to rise at 1700 Market Street includes 42 "single room occupancy" units which would be market rate but with limited individual kitchen facilities and a communal kitchen, gathering areas, and 1,498 square feet of ground floor retail below.

While the proposed building does not include any off-street parking spaces for autos, it does include a room for 25 bikes. And of course, residents would still be able to apply for permits to park their cars on the street.

If Off-Street Parking Is Limited, Should On-Street Parking Be Limited As Well? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (47) | (email story)

November 13, 2013

Previously Unreleased Renderings For The Warriors' Arena 3.0

A previously unreleased round of renderings for the Golden State Warriors' slimmed-down arena Design 3.0 provides greater detail with respect to the proposed height and mass of the retail and event center buildings to be built along the Embarcadero (click renderings to enlarge).

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (47) | (email story)

November 12, 2013

Warriors' SF Arena Design Slimmed-Down And Opened Up

With parks, plazas and paths along the bay, the open space for the proposed Warriors Arena in San Francisco has grown from half of the project area to 60 percent in Design 3.0.

The slimmed-down design lowers the 18,064 seat arena's height from 135 to 125 feet, reduces the proposed retail and event center area along the Embarcadero by 30,000 square feet, and expands the open space to 7.6 acres (up by nearly an acre).

The entrance to the arena's 500 space garage has been moved "mid-pier" to between Bryant and Beale and the height of the roof over the practice facility, parking garage and fire station on the northern end of the Piers 30/32 site has been lowered from 55 to 37 feet.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (70) | (email story)

Supersizing The 41 Tehama Street Tower

41%20Tehama%20Rendering%20Plus.jpg

Approved for the development of a 31-story building reaching 342 feet in height with 325 dwelling units, 700 square feet of retail space, and 241 off-street parking spaces below, Fritzi Realty is now seeking approvals to add four more floors and 73 additional dwelling units to their plans for the tower to be built at 41 Tehama Street

While the basic form and design of the 41 Tehama Street tower would not change, if approved, the 35-story tower at 41 Tehama Street would yield 398 dwelling units and a roof height of 360 feet with. The retail space and number of parking spaces would remain the same.

The open space at the base of 41 Tehama will connect to the future Oscar Park:

41%20Tehama%20Plaza.jpg

And as the site appears today:

41%20Tehama%20Site.jpg

The Revised Design(s) And Timing For A Tower At 41 Tehama [SocketSite]
Oscar The Park: Designs For An Acre Of Outdoor Space Downtown [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

A Peek At 535 Mission's Public Art Proposal And Pedestrian Linkage

535%20Mission%20Rendering%202013.jpg

With the construction of the 27-story office tower at 535 Mission Street slated for completion in 2014, this week San Francisco’s Planning Commission will get their first peek at the two proposed works of art to fulfill San Francisco’s One Percent for the Arts requirement.

The first piece is a sculptural composition of bronze, copper and steel by Anton Josef Standteiner to be installed at the corner of Minna Street and Shaw Alley. Entitled "The Band," Standteiner's piece consists of four separate sculptures representing members of a music group with each sculpture measuring approximately 10 feet in height (click renderings to enlarge):

The second work of art is a linear piece of dichroic and mirrored glass mounted to a stone backing. Gordon Huether's "Applique Da Parete" would be mounted within the lobby of 535 Mission Street with portions extending outdoors beyond the glass curtain wall of the building:

Both artworks are intended "to enliven and engage Shaw Alley," the public right-of-way next to the Salt House which will be closed to vehicular traffic and upgraded with paving, lighting, and landscape treatments to serve as a pedestrian linkage between Mission Street and San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center which is slated to open in 2017.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

November 8, 2013

San Francisco’s Caltrain Railyard Redevelopment Update And Post 2019 Plans

Railyard%20Project%20Site.jpg

An update on the potential redevelopment of San Francisco's Fourth and King Street Railyard and station, the current terminus for Caltrain in the city, was presented to Caltrain’s Board of Directors yesterday.

In summary, the two most likely options are limited redevelopments of a portion of the existing yard fronting Townsend and 4th Streets and possibly along King, while the complete redevelopment of San Francisco’s 4th and King Street Yard is a stretch.

SF%20Railyard%20Redevelopment%20Plans.gif

In terms of timing, don’t expect anything to happen before 2019, the year by which the electrification of Caltrain should be finished. And that "not before 2019" date includes any extension of Caltrain’s service to San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center which is slated to open in 2017.

The Vision For San Francisco's Fourth And King Street Railyard [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

November 7, 2013

Another Big Pine Street Development In The Works, And It's Not The Saitowitz Design

1527-1545 Pine Street (www.SocketSite.com)

Across Van Ness Avenue from the two proposed 13-story towers to rise on Pine Street, Trumark Companies is working on plans to raze the five one and two-story buildings between 1527 and 1545 Pine Street and construct a 12-story building designed by Arquitectonica on the site rather the Stanley Saitowitz design which was once on the boards.

1527-1545%20Pine%20Street%20Design.gif

As proposed, the new Lower Nob Hill/Polk Gulch building would yield up to 107 residential units with 2,844 square feet of ground-floor retail and art gallery space along Pine and Austin streets and parking for 82 cars and 106 bikes in a two-level basement below.

The main entrance to the residential portion of the proposed building would be through a lobby located in the middle of the project site along Pine Street while pedestrian access to the residential units would also be available from Austin Street. The retail spaces would be located to the east and west of the residential entrance on Pine and a public/private art gallery space would be located on Austin at the southeast corner of the site.

1527-1545%20Pine%20Street%20Site%20Plan.gif

Vehicular access would be provided from two separate vehicular exit/entries on Austin; a 22-foot-wide driveway would provide access to the automobile and bicycle parking spaces while a 15-foot-wide driveway would provide access to an off-street loading space.

One potential sticking point, the building at 1545 Pine Street is considered an historical resource for the purposes of environmental review. And don't panic, Grubsteak would survive.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

Public Hearing For Twin Towers On Pine Street This Afternoon

1634-1690%20Pine%20Rendering.jpg

The public hearing to review and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed development of 262 new condos, two floors of commercial space and parking for 245 cars in two 13-story towers on Pine Street between Van Ness and Franklin will be held this afternoon.

The 1634-1690 Pine Street parcel was originally proposed for development with plans for 282 condos to be built in a seven-story podium from which a 25-story and 12-story tower would rise but those plans were cancelled in 2007 having raised concerns among area residents.

"People don't want more residential. That’s what it comes down to," a San Francisco Planner was quoted as saying about the neighbors' concerns at the time.

Plans For Two Big Towers On Pine Have Been Revived And Rendered [SocketSite]
1634-1690 Pine Street Draft Environmental Impact Report Hearing [sfplanning.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

The Early Designs For Six New SoMa Stories At 1140 Folsom

1140%20Folsom%20Street%20Parcels.gif

As we first reported earlier this week, plans to demolish the two-story building on the northeast corner of Folsom and Rausch along with the adjacent parking lot on Rausch have been submitted to San Francisco's Planning Department along with designs to build 128 new residential units, 5,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space, and 85 parking spaces on the site.

As proposed, the development at 1140 Folsom Street would rise up to four stories and forty feet high along Rausch which "will appear as a series of individual buildings no more than 50’ in width…enhanced by varying finishes, window arrangements and mullions, colors, and façade proportions" and up to 65 feet and six stories high along Folsom (click images to enlarge):

As proposed, 40 percent of the 128 units at 1140 Folsom Street would be two-bedrooms, 42 percent one-bedrooms, and 18 percent studios. And while the building of three-bedroom units is encouraged by Planning, the developer has determined that "the neighborhood is less family oriented; therefore three bedroom units would not be a good fit for this location."

Plans For Six Story SoMa Building And 128 New Homes On Folsom [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (61) | (email story)

November 6, 2013

The Fate Of The 8 Washington Street Site: What Happens Now?

Proposed 8 Washinton Site

With voters in San Francisco having overturned the approved plans and increased height for the development of the 8 Washington Street site above and some bad information making the rounds, a rather plugged-in reader summarizes, and editorializes, how we got here and what happens with the proposed development now:

It’s no done deal that the developer can just build an 84' project [on the site]. The project was entitled as designed. It would have to go thru years of redesign, a new [Environmental Impact Report], [and] hearings at every commission that previously approved the prior plan.
The project was initially designed as an 84' project. After 17 months of "community planning" workshops, the community and the Planning Department convinced the developer to step the height up in the back and down in the front. The same people who put [Measure] C on the ballot opposed the 84' project and would probably put that on the ballot, this time saying it should be 40'.
Whether the developer or their financial partners (Calsters) are up for [another battle] remains to be seen. And what other developer would walk into this now? We may have another 10 or 15 years of parking lot and fenced club.

The proposed design for the project back when it was 84 feet in height, note the 28,000-square-foot public park at the northern tip of the site:

8 Washington Rendering

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (60) | (email story)

Voters Reject Measures B/C And Designs For 8 Washington Street

With 100 percent of San Francisco's precincts reporting and the mail-in ballots counted, the "No Wall on the Waterfront" forces have defeated the "Open Up The Waterfront" initiative and San Francisco Ballot Measures B and C.

The NO votes totaled 62.22 percent for Measure B (which would have upheld the approvals for the development of 8 Washington Street as rendered above) and 66.56 percent for Measure C (which would have upheld increased building heights for the project of up to 136 feet).

8%20Washington%20Height%20Rejected.gif

With the up-zoning for the approved project overturned, it's now back to the drawing board for the development of 8 Washington Street which we believe will still get built at some point, but not to a height of over 84 feet.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (54) | (email story)

November 5, 2013

Early SF Election Results: Measures B And C Facing Defeat

Based only on the results of 56,131 mail-in ballots returned, a quarter of the 238,235 which were issued, San Francisco Ballot Measure B which would clear the way for the development of 8 Washington Street as approved is losing the dueling ballot measure fight with 55% of the mail-in ballots marked NO versus 45% YES.

The "No Wall on The Waterfront" folks are also ahead with respect to San Francisco Ballot Measure C which would allow the approved Ordinance increasing the building height limits for the 8 Washington Street Development to take effect with 61% of the mail-in ballots marked NO versus 39% YES.

The mail-in ballot counts for Measure A (Retiree Health Care Trust Fund changes): 69% YES / 31% NO; and Measure D (Prescription Drug Purchasing Policy for the City): 80% YES / 20% NO.

We'll have the early counts for the votes cast at polling places in San Francisco later tonight.

UPDATE: Including 23,032 election day ballots from half the polling places in San Francisco, the percentage of NO votes on Measures B and C have increased to 60% and 65% respectively. If the early results hold, it's back to the drawing board for the development of 8 Washington Street.

UPDATE: With 98 percent of San Francisco precincts reporting and 39,240 election day ballots counted, the percentage of NO votes on Measures B and C have increased to 62% and 67% respectively. The "No Wall on the Waterfront" forces have won and the up-zoning for the development of 8 Washington Street has been overturned at the polls.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (23) | (email story)

The Polls Are Open In San Francisco And It's Time To Vote

8%20Washinton%202013.jpg

Perhaps you've already mailed your ballot or cast an early vote at City Hall, but if not, the polls are now open in San Francisco and it's time to vote.

Local Ballot Measures B and C are the two that we'll be tracking, with Yes votes on the two measures supporting the development of 8 Washington Street as rendered above and the "Open Up the Waterfront" initiative, while No votes on the two measures will overturn the increased building height limits for the development, the initiative of the "No Wall On The Waterfront" folks.

As always, we're more concerned with whether you vote versus which way you do. You have until 8pm today to make your vote count.

UPDATE: Early SF Election Results: Measures B And C Facing Defeat.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (41) | (email story)

November 4, 2013

More Affordable Housing On Geary Proposed, But Only A Bit

Midtown%20Park%20Apartments.jpg

The Western Addition block bounded by Divisadero, Geary, Scott and O’Farrell was developed in the 1960s with six low-rise residential buildings around a central courtyard, the Midtown Park Apartment complex provides 140 affordable dwelling units managed by Mercy housing.

In need of a full renovation, the current plan is to renovate the four buildings with a total of 96 units which front Scott, O’Farrell and Divisadero and demolish the two buildings with a total of 44 units that currently front Geary Boulevard. Two new buildings containing up to 114 units would replace the two buildings proposed to be demolished, adding 70 units to the block.

The proposed new building for the corner of Geary and Divisadero above would occupy a similar footprint to the existing building but would reach a height of approximately 56 feet with a new active ground-floor use and 67 affordable units for seniors above.

The second proposed building with just under 40 affordable units for families along Geary Boulevard would also occupy a similar footprint as the building to be demolished but would be located ten to fifteen feet closer to the street, increasing the amount of interior open space on the lot.

Currently only zoned for medium density with a 50-foot height limit, should the project and necessary "up-zoning" by a few feet be approved as proposed, the full city block at the intersection of Divisadero and Geary upon which two major bus lines run will provide just over 200 units of housing with construction slated to start at the end of 2014.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

Plans For Six Story SoMa Building And 128 New Homes On Folsom

1140%20Folsom%20Street%20Parcels.gif

Plans to demolish the building on the corner of Folsom and Rausch along with the adjacent parking lot behind have quietly been submitted to San Francisco's Planning Department along with designs to build 128 new residential units, 5,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space, and 85 parking spaces on the site.

As proposed, the development at 1140 Folsom Street would rise up to four stories and forty feet high along Rausch Street, up to 65 feet and six stories high along Folsom:

1140%20Folsom%20Street%20Site.jpg

The commercial space would line Folsom Street while parking for the development would be built in a basement garage with its entrance, and the building's, on Rausch.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

November 1, 2013

Historic Market Street Hotel And Club Project Ready To Proceed

1095 Market

As we first reported in 2010, the plans to rehabilitate the Joseph D. Grant Building at 1095 Market Street and convert the eight-story building from office use to a hotel/hostel with 94 rooms, a 2,500 square foot ground floor restaurant, a 3,500 square foot nightclub and two rooftop terraces totaling 8,500 square feet were making their way through Planning.

1095 Market as Proposed

Approved for development in October of 2010 with a three year window get going or lose their entitlements to develop, the project has yet to get started. From the project sponsor's counsel:

"Implementation of the project has been delayed for two primary reasons. First, the economic downturn in 2009 made construction financing difficult to obtain. This was particularly true for the project sponsor 1095 Market Street Associates, which is a family-owned and operated company based in San Francisco. Second, the costs of implementing the project were more significant than previously anticipated. The task of thoughtfully rehabilitating a historic building presents certain unique uncertainties and challenges that reveal themselves as the project moves closer to construction. Our client believes that they are now in a position to move forward with the project and respectfully request the Planning Commission’s support."

Next week, we expect San Francisco's Planning Commission to extend the project's window to get started, clearing the way for the development of 1095 Market at the corner of 7th to proceed.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

October 31, 2013

The Proposal To Pack More People And In-Laws Into The Castro

With San Francisco’s population rising and rents rising even more, Supervisor Wiener is sponsoring an amendment to San Francisco's Planning Code which would waive existing density restrictions and Code requirements to "allow the construction of an additional dwelling unit or units within the existing envelope of a residential building or auxiliary structure on the same lot (In-Law Units) on any parcel in the Castro Street Neighborhood Commercial District and within 1,750 feet of the District boundaries."

While constructed after 1979, any newly created units under the ordinance would still be subject to Rent Control if the existing building or any of the existing units within the existing building in which the new units built are currently subject to Rent Control.

As we wrote back in 2007: "Going green might be trendy (and we’re all for it), but as far as we’re concerned it’s a focus on density (and infill) that will define the next era in San Francisco's development, neighborhoods, and lifestyle."

San Francisco's Land Use and Economic Development Committee will review the proposed ordinance next week.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (79) | (email story)

October 25, 2013

The Preliminary Designs For Ten Stories At 16th And Mission

1979%20Mission%20Street%20Rendering.gif

Once again, a 10-story building with 351 housing units, 32,000 square feet of retail and a 56,000-square-foot basement parking garage has been proposed to rise above the 16th Street Bart Station on the northeast corner of Mission Street, the preliminary design and massing for which is illustrated above and below.

1979%20Mission%20Street%20Rendering%20Close.gif

The basement garage would contain 161 parking spaces, 39 spaces for the ground floor retailers and 122 spaces for the residential units, 88 of which would be stacked, with its entrance on Capp Street. The garage would also include space for 193 bikes.

1979%20Mission%20Street%20Site%20Plan.gif

Posted by socketadmin at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (53) | (email story)

A Move To Close All San Francisco Parks At Midnight

The hours at which San Francisco's public parks are considered to be closed and off-limits are currently set on an ad-hoc basis, making it difficult to effectively police and enforce.

On the agenda for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors next week, an ordinance which would establish a midnight closing time for all City parks in San Francisco including Golden Gate Park, Union Square and the Panhandle. That being said, roadways and paved paths would remain open for the purposes of traversing any park or plaza, but no stopping or stepping on the grass.

San Francisco's parks would open again at 5am daily.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

October 24, 2013

Ten Story Building Proposed Atop 16th Street BART Station Site

16th%20Street%20BART%20Station%20Site.jpg

Maximus Real Estate Partners is in contract to buy the 57,000 square foot parcel above the 16th Street BART station on the northeast corner of Mission Street and has submitted plans to build a 10-story building designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill with 351 housing units, 32,000 square feet of retail and a 56,000-square-foot basement parking garage on the site.

1979%20Mission%20Street%20Rendering.gif

From JK Dinnen at the Business Times:

The proposal calls for airy plate glass storefronts, with 14-foot floor-to-ceiling heights, which would wrap around the BART plaza and continue along Mission and 16th streets. The group says the blank facades currently ringing the BART Plaza on Mission and Capp streets represent "a significant contributing factor to the high crime rate at the intersection of 16th and Mission."

The sale of the parcel which includes an existing Walgreens, the Hwa Lei Market, the City Club bar, two restaurants and a defunct dollar store, all of which would be razed, is contingent upon approvals of the proposed development by the city.

16th%20Street%20BART%20Station%20Site%20Aerial.gif

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Appeal Of Potrero Hill Development Rejected By Supervisors

480 Potrero Site (www.SocketSite.com)

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has rejected the CEQA based appeal opposing the proposed Potrero Hill development at 480 Potrero Avenue and affirmed the Planning Commission's Environmental Declaration to allow the six-story building with 75 condos, 47 parking spaces and a thousand square feet of retail on the northwest corner of Potrero and Mariposa to be built.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

October 22, 2013

Making It Harder To (Legally) Merge Or Convert Units In SF

On the agenda for San Francisco's Planning Commission this week, an ordinance to tighten-up the language in San Francisco's Planning Code which governs the legal demolition, merger and conversion of existing residential units in San Francisco, intended to preserve the stock of affordable housing within the city.

Fearing an increase in Ellis Act evictions to clear multi-unit buildings in order to make way for their conversion to TIC units or merger into large single-family homes, Supervisor Avalos is proposing an entirely new amendment which would prohibit the demolition, merger or conversion of units, conforming or not, should the building have had any "no-fault" eviction within the past ten years.

While San Francisco’s Planning Department supports Supervisor Avalos' new amendment, they are recommending the prohibition only apply to evictions that occur as of the effective date of the proposed ordinance versus to those within the past ten years, and that the prohibition, when triggered, only last for five rather than ten years.

The actual enforcement of illegal conversions and mergers remains unaddressed.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (106) | (email story)

October 21, 2013

Approved Valencia Street Development Waylaid Anew Again

1050/8 Valencia

Perhaps the record setting price per square foot numbers being pushed by 3500 19th Street will take some of the sting out of the delays caused by the challengers of the plans to demolish the one-story building at the corner of Valencia and Hill between 21st and 22nd Streets and build a five story building with sixteen condos over 2,000 square feet of new restaurant space at 1050 Valencia.

1050 Valencia Street 2012 Rendering

Then again, it has been over three years since the early approvals for the 1050 Valencia Street project were first appealed and the issues raised in the latest appeal of the project "are nearly identical to those raised in the [Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association’s] previous appeal," issues which were addressed and rejected by San Francisco’s Planning Commission back in 2010.

The latest appeal of the previously approved 1050 Valencia Street Project will be heard by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this week. An appeal of the project's building permits has also been filed, but that appeal has been tabled until after the Board of Supervisors vote.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (70) | (email story)

October 18, 2013

The Park Service's Plans To Limit Off-Leash Areas For Dogs

A hearing on the National Park Service’s draft dog management plan for the Golden Gate National Recreation Areas which would greatly limit the off-leash activity areas for dogs at Fort Funston, Crissy Field, and Ocean Beach amongst other areas is the first item on the agenda for San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee this coming Monday, October 21.

Fearing that "restricting dog access on these federal lands could lead to dog over-crowding in our already crowded parks," Supervisors Wiener, Tang and Breed are sponsoring a resolution to oppose the proposed dog management plan and urging the Park Service to adopt a different approach.

The official 90-day public comment period for the Dog Management Plan expires on December 4, 2013. Following the public comment period, the plan will be revised, a final version of the plan will be released, and a 30-day no-action period will follow after which the revised plan will be signed by the Pacific West Regional Director and the new rules will be adopted.

The Park Service's preferred plan for Crissy Field is above (click plan to enlarge), their preferred plans for Ocean Beach and Fort Funston are below:

Park%20Service%20Dog%20Plan%20Ocean%20Beach.gif

Park%20Service%20Dog%20Plan%20Fort%20Funston.gif

Draft Dog Management Plan [nps.gov]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (41) | (email story)

October 16, 2013

BIG Architects Selected To Design Major Mid-Market Complex

950-974%20Market%20Street%20Site.gif

Bjarke Ingels Group (aka BIG) has been selected to design the development of 950-974 Market Street, a proposed arts, housing, hotel and retail complex that could include a 250-room hotel, 316 residential units, 15,000 square feet of retail, and a 75,000-square-foot arts building at the corner of Market and Turk.

950-974%20Market%20Rendering.gif

Working with the Thacher Family and the 950 Center for Arts & Education, Group I envisions 950-974 Market Street becoming "the gateway to Mid-Market" and "the culmination of a long-held vision for a thriving creative community in the heart of San Francisco that brings together the arts, technology, tourism, local culture and mixed income housing."

International 'starchitect' BIG picked to design Mid-Market complex [bizjournals.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

Apple's iCon-ic Campus 2 Approved By Cupertino's City Council

iCon%20Rendering%202013.jpg

The Cupertino City Council has unanimously approved Apple's plans for the 175-acre Apple Campus 2, at the center of which the circular 2.8-million square foot "iCon" building designed by Foster + Partners will rise.

Having already been endorsed by Cupertino’s Planning Commission, the former Hewlett Packard (HP) campus site is slated to start getting cleared by the end of the year and the project is on track to be finished by the end of 2016.

iCon%20Detail%202013.jpg

The four story headquarters will house up to 12,000 employees with space for another 2,200 employees in other buildings east of Tantau, 34 percent of which Apple has vowed will either use public transportation or Apple's buses for their commute.

The new campus will have 10,980 parking spaces, including 2,385 existing underground spaces and an above ground parking garage for 5,870 cars adjacent to I-280.

Apple%20Campus%202%20Site%202013.gif

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

October 15, 2013

The New Plan For 1601 Mariposa And 320 New Apartments

The plans for the proposed 320-unit Potrero Hill development known as 1601 Mariposa which stretches from Mariposa and Carolina to 18th and Arkansas have been tweaked a bit as have the numbers (click site plan to enlarge).

1601%20Mariposa%20Rendered.gif

In addition to increasing the number of proposed apartments from 291 to 320, the ground floor retail space has increased to 9,000 square feet and the number of underground parking spaces is up to 275, including 6 spaces for car share.

1601%20Mariposa%20Rendering.gif

And in terms of open space, in addition to 13,000 square feet for residents, a 21,000 square foot public greenway would provide passage between Mariposa and 18th Streets, "designed to encourage child’s play and community engagement such as farmers markets."

1601%20Mariposa%20Greenway.gif

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

October 14, 2013

Another Peek At The Two Pine Street Towers Proposed To Rise

1634-1690%20Pine%20Site%20Rendered.jpg

As plugged-in people know, the plans for two buildings with 262 condos over two stories of commercial and 245 parking spaces to rise on Pine Street between Franklin and Van Ness have been revived and are making their way through Planning.

As the block appears today from the corner of California and Franklin (click to enlarge):

And as it would look with the two 13-story buildings that are proposed to rise:

Plans For Two Big Towers On Pine Have Been Revived And Rendered [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

October 9, 2013

Five Story Building On Brannan Refined And Ready For Approval

345%20Brannan%20Site.jpg

As we first reported earlier this year with respect to the proposed development of the parking lot at the corner of Brannan and Stanford down in South Beach:

Currently a 94-space parking lot down near the ballpark, plans to build a five-story building with roughly 100,000 square feet office space over either 7,000 square feet for ground-floor retail/restaurant use or additional commercial space at 345 Brannan Street have received a Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration from Planning [which is good thing if you’re the developer].
A 4,000 square foot roof deck for tenants would be constructed atop the 65-foot-tall building while an underground garage for 26 cars would be built below.
Assuming approvals from the Planning Commission, and no extended delays or appeals, construction on the proposed 275-foot deep building is currently scheduled to start this summer and last for ten to twelve months.

While the summer start was missed, and construction will likely take closer to eighteen months, this week San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to approve the project which has been tweaked to coordinate with the approved design for the adjacent development at 333 Brannan.

345%20Brannan%20Design.gif

345%20Brannan%20Detail.gif

The developers of 345 Brannan Street have also agreed to apply for and construct a parklet in the area in front of the existing Brannan Street curb cut if approved:

345%20Brannan%20Parklet.gif

Parking Lot And Development Alert: The Designs For 345 Brannan [SocketSite]
Designs For 333 Brannan And Millions For The Neighborhood [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

October 7, 2013

Waylaid Potrero Development Scheduled For Board Vote This Week

The proposed construction of a six-story, 58-foot-tall building with 75 condos, 47 parking spaces and a thousand square feet of retail space on the northwest corner of Potrero and Mariposa has been held up by an appeal for over a year. As we first reported this past March:

Speaking of CEQA and the appeals process in action, the Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration which would have allowed the development of 480 Potrero Avenue to move forward was appealed late last year by the San Francisco Verdi Club, MUNA neighborhood association, and Potrero Hill neighbors.
The objections of the appellants include concerns that the project will "have an adverse effect on a scenic vista," will "substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings," and will "induce substantial population growth…and be out of character with the neighborhood."

Once again, as the existing visual character and scenic vista currently appears:

480 Potrero Site (www.SocketSite.com)

With the Planning Department having reaffirmed its position of support for the 480 Potrero project and the Planning Commission having since agreed, this week San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will hear the appeal, twelve months since it was filed.

Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And The NIMBYs [SocketSite]
CEQA In Action, Or Inaction, On Potrero Avenue [SocketSite]
Potrero Development Redesigned And Ready For Commission Vote [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (62) | (email story)

October 4, 2013

A Grand Jury's Call To Optimize San Francisco's City-Owned Real Estate

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The City and County of San Francisco owns 6,000 acres, or 20 percent of the land, within its County limits and another 92,000 acres beyond.

Concerned that surplus and underutilized real estate owned by San Francisco's City and County agencies could be put to better use ("providing for housing or commercial, cultural, and/or civic activities") and increase the City’s tax base, a Civil Grand Jury has come to the following six findings and recommendations for the City, including putting 170 Fell Street (pictured above) and its adjacent complex of historic buildings to a more productive use post-haste:

Finding 1:
Inadequate readily-accessible public information on publicly-owned real estate is part of the reason some properties have been allowed to languish and deteriorate, at a loss to the City. A more rational approach to handling under-utilized or surplus property requires that a comprehensive, detailed list of public properties is available on an ongoing basis.

The Fleishhacker Pool House is a perfect example of a situation where being “out of sight, out of mind” allowed a property to become so neglected that it eventually was destroyed by fire, resulting in a real loss for the City. A more transparent property database will make such occurrences less likely in future.

Recommendation 1.1:
The web-based San Francisco Property Information Map currently used to display
Planning and Building Inspection Department information should be integrated with and further developed by other departments to convey complete information about City properties. The Department of Technology and the Planning Department should work with and provide database access to all City departments enabling them to maintain the information on their properties.

Recommendation 1.2:
The online database of all properties owned by SFUSD and all City departments, including revenue-generating enterprise departments, needs to include information required by Chapter 23A of the Administrative Code [San Francisco’s Surplus City Property Ordinance].

Recommendation 1.3:
City departments, commissions and agencies should be directed to maintain and update their departmental real estate database, which appears in the Real Estate Division Map of Real Property and Property Book.

Recommendation 1.4:
The Director of Real Estate should be required to review the list annually to confirm that all departments have made a complete report on their properties, including surplus and underutilized properties, in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 23A of the Administrative Code; and the City Administrator should be required to report annually to the Board of Supervisors regarding the City’s real property assets.

Finding 2:
Lack of transparent public debate contributes to suboptimal use of City real estate assets.

The Kirkland Property is a perfect case in point. SFMTA may have a good case for retaining the property as a bus maintenance yard as recommended by its consultant. However, allowing SFMTA to abandon stated plans for converting the property to commercial and/or residential use without public debate prevents possibly better, more economically efficient alternatives from being considered.

Recommendation 2:
The City and SFUSD should activate their respective Surplus Property Advisory Committees because the meetings of these committees provide a public forum in which to discuss best uses of publicly-owned real estate and each committee should be charged with monitoring uses of public property and making sure that there is ongoing accountability with respect to surplus and underutilized properties.

Finding 3:
The purposes for which the Surplus Property Ordinance was adopted are too narrow to effectively motivate City departments to identify surplus and underutilized properties for other uses or disposition. Further, the ordinance does not provide a department with any incentive to dispose of surplus or underutilized property.

Recommendation 3:
The Board of Supervisors should amend Chapter 23A of the Administrative Code to include an incentive for City Departments to identify and dispose of surplus and underutilized properties and to broaden the purposes for which surplus and underutilized properties may be used.

Finding 4:
Current practice allows City Departments and SFUSD to keep property on their surplus list indefinitely without any consequence. The concern for a more rational approach to handling under-utilized or surplus property requires that a time limit be imposed on how long property may remain on these lists. If, after a pre-determined period, property which is identified as surplus or underutilized has not been put into use or fully-utilized or no plans have been adopted for its use or full-utilization, there should be specified consequences for the failure to act.

Recommendation 4:
The Board of Supervisors and the SF Board of Education should each adopt rules which limit the length of time property may remain on their respective surplus list without action and which address consequences for such inaction.

Finding 5:
Passive management of publicly-owned real estate leads to valuable properties lying fallow for years. The City and SFUSD leadership must be charged and empowered to develop plans for utilization of surplus / under-utilized parcels, including public-private partnerships where feasible and desirable.

Very valuable properties owned by City departments and SFUSD have been underutilized for decades and present prime opportunities to be repurposed or sold to create value for the City and SFUSD. The properties at 155/165 Grove Street, the Fire Chief’s House at 870 Bush Street, the lot at 7th Avenue and Lawton Street, and 1950 Mission Street are a few examples of properties that have been passively managed.

Recommendation 5.1:
The SFUSD needs to designate someone who is given appropriate authority and whose time and energy is devoted to optimizing the use of surplus and under-utilized real estate through its development or disposition. That person should work with the Capital Planning Policy Committee and Surplus Property Advisory Committee to incorporate surplus and underutilized property into SFUSD’s 10-year rolling Capital Plan.

Recommendation 5.2:
The Capital Planning Policy Committee of the San Francisco Capital Planning Program should be made responsible for overseeing the publicly-owned surplus and underutilized property list for the City and for assuring that clear plans for the disposition or repurposing of such properties are generated and incorporated into the 10-year rolling capital plan of the Capital Planning Program.

Finding 6:
Given the location of 135 Van Ness Avenue and 170 Fell Street in the heart of the City’s cultural center, and the historic nature of the structures, their current status is far from the highest and best use of these unique properties. Plans by SFUSD to convert the properties into the School of the Arts have not moved forward because of, among other reasons, a lack of needed funding. Yet, at the time, and now, SFUSD owned and continues to own, sufficient surplus and underutilized property that if sold could fund the entire project.

Other alternative and better uses of this complex may be possible.

Recommendation 6:
The entire complex of historic buildings at 135 Van Ness / 170 Fell Street, including Nourse Auditorium, should be put to productive use by, for example, converting the complex into the School for the Arts.

The Civil Grand Jury's full report: Optimizing the Use of Publicly-Owned Real Estate.

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October 3, 2013

Larkin Street Redevelopment Take Three And Planning's Flop

First St. John's United Methodist Church at Larkin and Clay (Image Source: MapJack.com)

Having been rejected twice, once in 2010 and again at the end of last year, the project sponsors of the proposed demolition the dilapidated First St. John's United Methodist Church at the corner of Larkin and Clay will once again seek the Planning Commission’s approval to build a new residential building upon the lot this afternoon.

The revised design for the development at 1601 Larkin Street which is down to five floors from six with additional setbacks and new finishes on the façade will yield 27 new dwelling units and 32 parking spaces as proposed.

The Planning Department which had originally supported the project but then flipped has flopped back to once again characterizing the project as “necessary and desirable” and recommends the project be approved.

1601 Larkin Street 3.1: The Redesign Details And Renderings [SocketSite]
1601 Larkin: Planning's Flip-Flop And Expected Disapproval Today [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

New NoPa Condos, Restaurants, And Another Threat As Proposed?

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While some fear that the proposed residential redevelopment of the Harding Theater on Divisadero could spell trouble for the Independent next door, it might be double trouble as the owner of the corner warehouse on the other side of the Independent is quietly working on plans to partially demolish the auto repair shop at 650 Divisadero Street and build a five-story residential building with nine units along Gove Street and three new commercial spaces, including two for new restaurants, along Divisadero.

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While the existing building’s façade along Divisadero would be retained, additional height would be added, including a proposed roof deck for the restaurants which is not currently permitted in the area but would be allowed per a proposed zoning change. Nine parking spaces for the residential portion of the development are proposed to be constructed underground.

With a parcel that could actually support the development of up to sixteen residential units, the Planning Department is "strongly encouraging" the project sponsors to increase the density of the project as proposed. As always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

Infill Along The Lombard Street Corridor

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Having purchased the two-unit building with two adjacent vacant lots at 1463-1465 Lombard Street between Franklin and Van Ness for $2,100,000 this past June, the buyers are working on plans to demolish the building, merge the lots and build a four-story building with nine condos, nine parking spaces and 600 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

October 2, 2013

New Renderings And A Potential Formula Retail Fight For 555 Fulton

As we first reported last week, the previously approved plans to construct a five-story, mixed-use building with 139 dwelling units, 148 off-street parking spaces, and a 30,000 square foot grocery store at 555 Fulton Street have been dusted off and the design refined.

Tomorrow, San Francisco’s Planning Commission will be asked to extend the approvals for the development of 555 Fulton Street which expired earlier this year. In addition, the project sponsor is requesting the approval of a new amendment which would allow for a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or other formula retailer to operate at the corner of Fulton and Laguna.

While no specific tenant has been proposed, and the proposed amendment would not allow a formula retailer to lease the building's retail space as of right, the amendment would allow a formula retailer to seek Conditional Use Authorization to operate the grocery at 555 Fulton Street, an option which is currently blocked by Hayes Valley's formula retail controls.

Modern Hayes Valley Development And Grocery Getting Ready To Go [SocketSite]
A New Formula For Keeping Out Foreign Threats [SocketSite]

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October 1, 2013

270 Brannan's Refined Design And Neighborhood Parking Concerns

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The refined design for the proposed office building to rise up to seven stories high on the parking lot between the historic Hawley and Gallo buildings at 270 Brannan Street is slated to be approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission this week.

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The project will yield nearly 190,000 square feet of office space with a 5,000 square foot atrium and a private roof deck on the sixth floor:

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The proposed garage beneath the building includes space for 54 bikes but only 12 cars, 72 fewer parking spaces than the parcel currently provides which has the residents of 200 Brannan a bit concerned and requesting that the Planning Commission require a greater number of parking spaces "so that the availability of street parking is not further reduced by this project."

The Planning Department recommends the project be approved with the tweleve parking spaces as proposed.

Designs For Building Up On Brannan And Parking Going Down [SocketSite]

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September 25, 2013

Plans For Four Stories Of Condos At Pennsylvania And 17th

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As proposed, the single-story Potrero Hill warehouse at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street will be razed and two residential buildings will be built upon the site.

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The building to be known as 1001 17th Street would be 4-stories and 48-feet tall with 26 condos and a ground floor garage for nine (9) cars and 28 bikes. The sister building at 140 Pennsylvania Street would be 4-stories and between 40 and 48 feet tall with 11 condos and a garage for 8 cars and 11 bikes. The proposed condos average 800 square feet.

An earlier plan for the site called for a four-story commercial building with retail on the ground floor and 57 parking spaces underground. San Francisco’s Planning Commission is set to approve the revised plans this week.

As plugged-in people know, plans to build 45 new units on the parking lot across the street at 98 Pennsylvania Avenue are in the works while the approved 468-unit Daggett Place development is a block away at the corner of 7th and 16th Streets.

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September 23, 2013

Plans For Seven Stories Of Infill Along Folsom Near Sixth

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Goldman Architects is quietly working on plans to demolish the single-story Arroyo Carlos & Sons auto repair shop at 980 Folsom Street and build a seven-story, mixed-use building in its place.

As drafted, the new building would consist of 34 residential units over ground floor commercial space and a garage entrance fronting Folsom Street. At the rear of the lot, the Clementina Street frontage would only rise four stories with residential units over the ground floor garage.

The draft design for the garage includes 21 stacked parking spaces, but as new buildings in the Mixed-Use District are limited to one off-street parking space for every four dwelling units, an exception would need to be granted for more than nine (9) parking spaces to be built based on the number of dwelling units proposed.

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September 18, 2013

Presidio Cultural Center Proposals (And Parking) By The Numbers

With the detailed proposals for the three finalists competing to redevelop the Presidio's former Commissary site in hand, here’s the quick summary of how the proposals compare in terms of projected attendance, space, parking, timeline and dollars:

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum
Attendance (projected, annual): 500,000 - 750,000 visitors
Building: 93,000 square feet
Parking: 350 underground spaces
Cost: $300 million
Development Timeline: 3 Years
Funding: George Lucas

The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy's Presidio Exchange
Attendance (projected, annual): 460,000 Visitors
Building: 97,000 square feet, including re-use of existing Commissary building
Parking: 350 surface spaces
Cost: $119 million
Development Timeline: Two phases over 5.5 Years
Funding: Capital Campaign TBD

The Bridge Institute
Attendance (projected, annual): 550,000 Visitors
Building: 92,000 square feet
Parking: None
Cost: $185 million
Development Timeline: 4 Years
Funding: Capital Campaign TBD

As a point of reference, San Francisco's old Exploratorium registered roughly 580,000 visitors last year.

The Three Competing Designs For The Presidio's Commissary Site [SocketSite]

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September 17, 2013

The Three Competing Designs For The Presidio's Commissary Site

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The three final proposals for redeveloping the Presidio's former Commissary site which is currently occupied by Sports Basement have been received by the Presidio Trust and will be presented to the public on September 23. If you'd like to take a peek at the proposed designs and uses for the 16-acre site prior to the public presentation, however, here they are:

1. George Lucas' Cultural Arts Museum Proposal (Final)
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2. The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy's Presidio Exchange Proposal (Final)
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3. The Bridge/Sustainability Institute's Proposal (Final)
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While no specific date has been given, the winning concept is expected to be selected and announced either later this year or early in 2014.

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September 16, 2013

A Rather Ironic Noe Valley Fight Continues, Decision This Week

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As we first reported two weeks ago, the driving force behind the requested Discretionary Review (DR) to downsize the proposed 4,820 square foot single-family home to be built at 645 Duncan Street are the owners of the 6,000 square foot home next door who have characterized their campaign as a fight to preserve "the character and charm" of the neighborhood.

With the design for 645 Duncan having been revised to address a number of stated concerns, including the elimination of a proposed fifth floor which would have been within the permitted height limit for the site (click renderings to enlarge), San Francisco’s Planning Commission will now decide whether or not the development will be allowed to move forward as proposed:

Noting that the design for 645 Duncan complies with both San Francisco's Planning Code and Residential Design Guidelines, San Francisco’s Planning Department recommends that the Planning Commission approve the development as designed.

Adding to the irony, the owner of the rather charming 1,400 square foot home to the west of the proposed project is actually on the record in support of the development as well.

Buyers Of 6,000 Foot Home Now Fight To Preserve "Noe's Charm" [SocketSite]
A Threat To "The Character And Charm" Of Noe Valley? [SocketSite]
645 Duncan Street Discretionary Review Packet [sfplanning.org]

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Final Proposals For Presidio Development Due By Five PM Today

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With three teams having made the Presidio Trust's cut, final proposals for redeveloping the former Commissary and current Sports Basement site across from Crissy Field are due by 5pm today.

From the New York Times with respect to George Lucas' proposed Cultural Arts Museum, one of the three finalists which comes with a pledge of $700 million of Lucas' own money to fund and endow the museum and has been endorsed by Mayor Ed Lee:

In an interview, Mr. Lucas said that the Presidio staff and board had "stalled" for four years on the project and snubbed his taste in architecture as an exercise in mere "mimicking." Should San Francisco reject his latest proposal, Mr. Lucas is threatening to build his pop-culture palace in Chicago.

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Mr. Lucas said that Nancy H. Bechtle, chairwoman of the Presidio board, criticized his idea for a building that recycled a historical style rather than pioneered a new one. His proposal calls for a conservative Beaux-Arts building topped by a dome and takes its inspiration from the fairgrounds of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco in 1915.

"There’s nothing wrong with replicating old architecture," Mr. Lucas said. "Basically all of Washington is a mimic of the past." We'll keep posted as to what the future holds.

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum And Two Others Make The Presidio's Cut [SocketSite]
3 Vie to Build Culture Center at Presidio in San Francisco [NYTimes]
George Lucas' Cultural Arts Museum Proposal And Personal Thoughts [SocketSite]

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September 12, 2013

San Francisco's Future Skyline And Transit Center Fully Animated

The latest animation for San Francisco's future Transbay Transit Center in which the Center is fully rendered, both inside and out, not only includes the 1,070-foot tall Transbay Tower to rise at the corner of First and Mission, but twenty-three other area developments and two parks which are either under construction, approved or slated to be built.

The full list, links and breakdown for all the new developments which make an appearance above:

1. 50 First Street (Office/Residential)
2. 201 Folsom Street (LUMINA) (Residential/Retail)
3. 530 Folsom Street (Rene Cazenave Apartments)
4. Foundry Square III (Office)
5. 181 Fremont Street (Office/Residential)
6. 325 Fremont Street (Residential)
7. 340 Fremont Street (Residential)
8. 399 Fremont Street (Residential)
9. 75 Howard Street (Residential)
10. 524 Howard Street (Residential)
11. 45 Lansing Street (Residential)
12. 350 Mission Street (Office)
13. 535 Mission Street (Office)
14. One Rincon Tower 2 (Residential)
15. Oscar Park (Park)
16. 222 Second Street (Office)
17. 41 Tehama Street (Residential)
18. Transbay Block 1 (Residential)
19. Transbay Blocks 2/3/4 (current Temporary Terminal) (Residential and Park)
20. Transbay Block 5 (TBD)
21. Transbay Block 6/7 (Residential/Retail)
23. Tranbay Block 8 (Residential)
24. Transbay Block 9 (Residential)

And yes, there are more to come.

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SoMa Lot Across From The Eagle Acquired For Development

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The half-acre parking lot at 1532 Harrison Street which fronts Norfolk, Harrison and 12th Streets has been acquired by developer Build Inc. with plans to build around 120 rental units on the site.

The parcel which sits across the street from the Eagle Tavern is zoned for a building up to 65 feet in height with the potential for five stories of housing over ground floor retail.

Build Inc. acquires SoMa site for rental housing [Business Times]

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September 11, 2013

Oh Lord, Plans To Condo Convert The Second Church of Christ

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As proposed, the Second Church of Christ which overlooks Mission Dolores Park at 651 Dolores Street will be converted into a 26,000 square foot residential building, with four big three-bedroom units and a four car garage within the church's existing exterior walls (click plans to enlarge).

New partition walls within the existing auditorium would divide the space between three of the new dwelling units:

An all new penthouse level would be created by raising the suspending ceiling by seven feet and adding a new 3,020 square foot floor beneath the dome.

Outside, the "SECOND CHURCH OF CHRIST SCIENTIST" metal signage facing Dolores Street would be replaced with in-kind lettering to state: "THE LIGHT HOUSE."

In 2006, a plan to raze the church which was designed by architect William H Crim Jr. and built in 1917 had been drafted but was never approved with designs for a smaller church and eight new dwelling units to be built on the site instead.

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September 10, 2013

Lines For A Slender Nine-Story Building Have Been Drawn

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The Viavi Building at 50 Fell Street was built in 1931. Embodying "the distinctive characteristics of late period Mission Revival style," the historically significant L-shaped building was constructed around a spacious central courtyard with the only street side garden in the neighborhood.

Last occupied by the New College of California School of Law which vacated the building in 2008, the building was sold in 2011 and the buyer quietly engaged Heller Manus Architects to explore designs for the development of the property.

While the architects' plans call for the renovation of the existing building, plans for a slender nine or ten-story residential building to rise upon the western portion of the aforementioned courtyard have been drawn as well:

The project sponsor’s "preferred" option would construct a nine-story, 22,201 square foot residential building with a 1,477 square foot restaurant on the ground floor. Floors two through nine would include 24 residential units with a unit mix of six studio, six one‐bedroom and 12 two‐bedroom units. The preferred option includes 1,128 square feet of rooftop common open space.
Option A would construct a ten-story, 22,232 square foot residential building with a 1,334 square foot restaurant on the ground floor. Floors two through ten would include 23 residential units. Option A would include 1,104 square feet of rooftop common open space. Under Option A, the unit mix would include ten studio, nine one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units.
Under both options the proposed building would be 96 feet tall and no off‐street parking would be provided.

The Planning Department, however, isn't digging the plans for the predominantly glass building that's being proposed for the site:

The challenge of this site is arriving at a design of a tall slender building that must be compatible with the existing site and building. The design will need to demonstrate compatibility with the historic setting and building at 50 Fell Street. This building may succeed at providing a graceful transition between the 400’ tower to the West and the existing low‐rise Mediterranean style historic building at 50 Fell Street.
In general the siting is appropriate. However, as proposed, the current design would reduce public visibility from the street toward the historic building by blocking or leaving only a narrow setback between the new and the old. The Planning Department recommends reconsideration of the massing of the building to preserve visual setting of the historic building by providing more separation between the existing building and the proposed building. The Planning Department would like to see the proposed building more integrated with the courtyard in materiality, scale, proportion, and modularity. The new building must ‘finish’ the courtyard in a manner compatible with the historic site.

In terms of integration and compatibility, the Planning Department is recommending the existing scrolled courtyard entrance serve as the main entrance leading to any new building, is requesting that the existing courtyard wall and fountain remain in their original locations, and has even noted that "existing trees may be significant and contribute to the character of the courtyard and any removal will require review and approval."

In addition, rather than a glass, steel, and concrete building, the Department would like to see "some uniformity of detail, scale, proportion, texture, materials, color and building form" with the existing building which is "characterized by a light colored stucco body with punched window and door openings, and accented by Spanish tile, and other ornamental details."

We'll let you know when there's a rendering to be had.

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September 9, 2013

Impact Of Proposed 31-Story Waterfront Tower Up In The Air

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The environmental impact of razing the eight-story parking garage for 540 cars at 75 Howard Street and building a 31-story tower with 186 condos over a ground floor restaurant and parking for 175 cars on the site will be reviewed by San Francisco’s Planning Commission this week.

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Currently zoned for building up to 200 feet in height, assuming the Environmental Impact Report for the project is certified, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will still need to approve a reclassification of the zoning for the tower to rise the full 348-feet as proposed.

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Chopping the tower down to 200 feet would reduce the number of units by ten percent to 169 condos with 143 parking spaces, while designs for a 281-foot tower would yield 172 units with parking for 156, leading to some to wonder if the designs for a 348-foot tall tower were proposed to make the approval of a shorter tower seem like a compromise.

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As the proposed tower would cast a shadow on Rincon Park, should the homeowners at the Four Seasons be successful in passing their "let the sun shine" ballot measure, in addition to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, the voters of San Francisco would need to approve the plans for 75 Howard Street before any development could begin.

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September 4, 2013

A Threat To "The Character And Charm" Of Noe Valley?

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While San Francisco’s Planning Department has approved plans for a staggered three-story over basement and garage home to be built at 645 Duncan Street, a group of Noe Valley neighbors have requested a Discretionary Review to appeal the project's approval.

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Characterizing the project as "a precedent setting five story single family home in Noe Valley, potentially altering the character and charm of this neighborhood forever," the Noe Valley Neighbors have gathered 297 online signatures in support of their appeal.

Keep in mind that the proposed "precedent setting" home would rise adjacent to 625 Duncan Street, the modern 6,000 square foot home which was built in 2008 and is currently the second most expensive home in the neighborhood, down the street from the most expensive home at 526 Duncan.

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August 28, 2013

It's Not About Vanity, It's About Valuation

The proposed Warriors Arena to built upon San Francisco's Pier 30-32 isn't a vanity project, it's a shrewd financial move on the part of the team's ownership.

As a plugged-in reader notes, while the Warriors franchise was purchased for $450 million in 2010, the value of the franchise has skyrocketed since announcing their planned move and new San Francisco arena with a recent deal to sell a minority share of the team to Silicon Valley venture capitalist Mark Stevens implying an $800 million valuation.

Putting aside the issue of whether or not the proposed location is appropriate, the new arena would be a boon to the City of San Francisco, but not nearly as much as to the team. And yet the City seems to have been negotiating with the Warriors from a position of weakness and promoting the project as a near act of charity to clean up the pier.

Okay, so perhaps it is a vanity project, just not on the part of the Warriors.

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August 27, 2013

Apple's Revised Designs For A Flagship Store On Union Square

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While Ruth Asawa's San Francisco Fountain will still be moved to make way for Apple's proposed flagship store on Union Square, it won't be moved off-site if the revised designs for Apple's store and the plaza behind are approved.

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Instead, the fountain will be moved "slightly to the north and closer to the sidewalk" while the north edge of the existing plaza "will be pulled back several feet from the sidewalk to improve views of the fountain from the sidewalk."

From John King with respect to the revised design for Apple's proposed new store:

The building itself remains a tall, taut cube of glass and steel entered on Post Street. But instead of Stockton Street being walled off by steel panels 80 feet long and more than 20 feet high, the design includes an 8-foot-wide glass "window" that will be notched deep into the wall and extend from the floor to the roof. It then will continue across to create a skylight for the retail space below.
The thrust of the new design remains more about Apple than the historic Union Square setting. But the glass wall on Post has been pulled back several feet from the outer metal frame, allowing for shadows and depth. The broad, tall cut along Stockton adds a provocative and visually porous element to the scene.

The building design which Apple had originally proposed for the site:

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And once again, as the corner currently appears:

300 Post Street

Apple's Plan For A Flagship Store On Union Square [SocketSite]
Apple Store's new design preserves fountain [SFGate]

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August 26, 2013

Proposed Waterfront Open Space Meeting Postponed

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The meeting scheduled for August 28 to discuss the designs for the concrete triangle at the end of Howard between Steuart and Embarcadero has been postponed. From the team behind the proposed 31-story building to rise at 75 Howard Street, at the base of which the triangle sits:

Unfortunately, we have just learned that we need to have additional information in hand and further discussions with the City, the owner of the triangle lot. As we want to have a meaningful and comprehensive community discussion about the site, we need to postpone this Wednesday’s meeting.

We'll let you know when the meeting is rescheduled. In the meantime, we'll leave you with a reader's thought that the triangle could make for a rather interesting location for Ruth Asawa's San Francisco Fountain should it be moved to make way for an Apple store on Union Square.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | (email story)

Warriors Arena Plan Already Behind Schedule, Costs Piling Up

As we first wrote last year with respect to the plan to build an arena upon Pier 30-32:

With San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee deeming it his legacy project, and the project sponsors lining the pockets of nearly every political, development, and public relations consultant in the city, some might consider the Warriors Arena that’s proposed to be built upon Pier 30-32 to be too big or connected to fail. But this is San Francisco, after all.
Birds helped overturn the approved development of 555 Washington. NIMBY neighbors have stalled the approved development of 8 Washington for at least another year. And an early plan to develop the very Pier upon which the Warriors Arena would be built fell apart during negotiations of the financial terms.
The draft development deal with the Warriors would cap the City’s exposure on the billion dollar project to a $120,000,000 reimbursement for Pier rehabilitation and potential public improvements with funding of the reimbursement limited to rent credits (the piers would be leased to the Warriors for $1,970,000 a year), the sale of Seawall 330 for an estimated $30,400,000, and new property tax revenue generated by the Warriors development.
Assuming a term sheet for the deal can be agreed upon, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission approves the use, the Piers are successfully rezoned for development over 40 feet, and any legal challenges are overcome in a timely manner, San Francisco and the Golden State Warriors will have a new Arena by 2017.

While a term sheet for the project has been agreed upon, the estimated cost for improving the pier for development has since risen from $120 million to $170 million, the project is already months behind the tight schedule for meeting a 2017 opening, and not only has the BCDC not approved of the project, they're pushing for additional time and delay.

The lawsuit and referendum circus challenging the development has yet to even begin.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (72) | (email story)

August 22, 2013

New Rents Over Religion On 14th Street

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With ten apartments on the top two floors and the ground floor and basement currently occupied by a church, the owner of the three-story building on the northwest corner of 14th and Belcher streets is working on plans to move the church to the basement, convert the first floor of the building into five new apartments, and build two new floors with four new apartments above the existing single story at the rear of the building.

The building's existing single-space garage and loading zone along 14th Street would be removed as part of the project and parking for bikes would be built in the basement.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

August 20, 2013

Two Proposals To Redevelop Pier 38, Including A Beer Garden

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The Port of San Francisco has received two responses to their request for proposals to redevelop San Francisco's Pier 38 bulkhead structure and a portion of the Pier 38 shed. The Pier 38 buildings were red tagged as unsafe for occupancy in 2011 when serving as office space for a number of startups and a couple of venture firms.

From the San Francisco Business Times with respect to the two competing proposals from San Francisco Waterfront Partners (SFWP) and TMG:

SFWP has proposed to use the first floor of the bulkhead building for a cafe and other restaurant uses, and the second floor for a technology co-working facility, perhaps operated by SoMa Central, which ran the tech incubator space prior to 2011. SFPW is also in talks with the Slanted Door Restaurant Group for creation of an Asian casual cafe and is proposing a San Francisco Beer Garden on the northside of the bulkhead building, facing the new Brannan Street Wharf.
TMG’s vision is based on "immediate revitalization of the Pier 38 Bulkhead with a mix of public, office, and maritime uses." The TMG proposal, which would cost $6.9 million, is focused on speed. TMG would limit its initial investment to meet accessibility and code requirements to activate the bulkhead building as quickly as possible.
The southern portion of the bulkhead building's first floor and the west portion of the mezzanine area would be used for office. The northern portion of the bulkhead building’s first floor could be used as an informal dining area, including an area for a food truck program. TMG has been in talks with several of the former tenants of the building as well as food truck organizer Off The Grid.

Port staff are slated to recommend a winning proposal to the Port Commission next month.

Putting Lipstick On The Red-Tagged Pig Of Pier 38? [SocketSite]
Two years after evictions, who's in the running to revive Pier 38 [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

Seeking Support For Waterfront Open Space (And Development)

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As part of the 31-story condo tower project proposed to rise at 75 Howard Street, the existing concrete triangle at the end of Howard between Steuart and Embarcadero is proposed to be remade as a 5,000 square foot public open space.

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While rendered as a sculpture garden at the base of the proposed tower, the developers are now seeking community input with respect to designs for the triangle, hoping to reach "community consensus" and support for their plan(s).

A public meeting to discuss the designs and proposed programming for the triangle will be held next Wednesday, August 28 from 6-8pm at the Embarcadero YMCA. And if a consensus is reached, "the Paramount Group will propose that design to the City and County of San Francisco as part of their overall site proposal."

UPDATE: Proposed Waterfront Open Space Meeting Postponed.

The Impact Of A Proposed 31-Story Tower On SF's Waterfront [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

August 14, 2013

Waylaid By Two Downturns Downtown, Will There Be A Third?

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First approved for development over a decade ago with plans for an 11-story hotel and restaurant to rise on the little downtown parking lot at 72 Ellis Street, the owners of the parcel were given until 2004 to start construction on the site:

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In the wake of the dot-com collapse and decline in tourism following September 11th, the approved performance period was extended from 2004 to 2007, at which point "the collapse of the housing market and overall poor economic conditions" led the Planning Commission to extend the performance period until 2010.

Having yet to start construction much less secure permits for the project, but wishing "to preserve the opportunity to construct the project given the current state of the economy," the owners of the lot are now seeking a third three-year extension which would preserve their option to develop the lot until August 15, 2016.

"Given the age of the original entitlements and the number of previous extensions," however, San Francisco's Planning Department is recommending the Planning Commission limit the term of the requested extension to one year (to August 15, 2014).

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

August 13, 2013

Razing Ginsberg's To Build A Non-Beat Hotel

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Constructed in 1906 and empty since Ginsberg's Dublin Pub vacated a few years ago, the owners of the one-story building on the northwest corner of Bay and Mason are working on plans to raze the building and build a boutique hotel on the site.

The proposed four-story hotel has been designed with 15 rooms with two roof decks for guests. No parking would be provided on-site. And with a bit of retail space on the ground floor, the new building would rise a total of 40 feet in height.

Having been constructed over 50 years ago, a Historic Resource Evaluation will need to be prepared for the existing building at 400 Bay before it may be razed. And of course, there's always a chance a neighbor or two might Howl.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

524 Howard Street: Tower Deets And Timing

As we first reported and summarized last month, while Crescent Heights is seeking approval to continue operating the little parking lot at 524 Howard Street which they acquired out of foreclosure in 2011, they're concurrently working on a plan to construct a 44-story residential tower on the site.

524 Howard Street Site

As proposed, the slender tower to rise at 524 Howard would reach a roof height of 450 feet, under which 285 residential units, 1,300 square feet of retail space fronting Howard, and 71 parking spaces accessed by way of Natoma Street would be built.

Currently undergoing a Preliminary Project Assessment by San Francisco’s Planning Department, while the on-site board for the 524 Howard Street project announces "coming soon," it's likely a minimum of three years away and has yet to be approved.

New Plans For Prime Transbay Parcel: 44-Story Condo Tower [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

August 12, 2013

Designs For 333 Brannan And Millions For The Neighborhood

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Kilroy Reality is moving forward with plans to demolish the two small industrial buildings and sixty-six space surface parking lot at the corner of Brannan and Stanford and build a six-story office building with a bit of ground-floor retail on the South Beach site two blocks from the ballpark.

The proposed 180,000 square foot building includes 5 car sharing spaces and parking for 40 other autos, two spaces of which would be allocated for the retail use.

A courtyard along Stanford and another along Brannan break-up the building’s mass:

With nearly $8 million of impact fees to be paid to the City for the $90 million project, San Francisco’s Planning Department recommends the Planning Commission approve the project and variances necessary to proceed as proposed.

Construction would last approximately 15 months. And if approved this week, 333 Brannan could be ready for occupancy by the winter of 2015.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

The Living Wall And Public Art Within This Building's Lobby

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Under construction and nearing completion at the corner of First and Howard, the ten-story Foundry Square III will yield 275,000 square feet of "open collaborative" office space. A 100-foot long living wall will adorn the building's lobby (click renderings to enlarge).

While the development also includes a new public plaza on the corner, it's within the lobby of the building that Tishman Speyer proposes to place two sculptures by artist Thomas Houseago ("Boy III" and "Sleeping Boy") in order to fulfill the City’s 1% for Art requirement.

And while the lobby of the building would only be accessible to the public during normal business hours (8:00am to 7:00pm), the sculptures would be placed so as to be visible from the public plaza when the lobby is closed.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

The Neighbor's Plan To Ban Tour Buses From Postcard Row

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Nearly two years in the making, proposed legislation which would ban tour buses with seating for nine or more from operating within San Francsico's Alamo Square Historic District, including along Postcard Row, will be reviewed by SFMTA's Policy and Governance Committee this Friday.

Championed by the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association, if the proposed legislation is supported by the Committee it's on to SFMTA's Board of Directors for a vote.

In the words and window of one Alamo Square neighbor:

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Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (52) | (email story)

August 9, 2013

Designs For Two Dogpatch Buildings And A Decompression Plaza

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Having quietly acquired the Dogpatch parcel upon which Café Cocomo currently stands, Build Inc. is moving forward with plans to build 120 new apartments and a cafe at 650 Indiana Street.

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A mid-block alley would sit between the two proposed five-story buildings designed by two different architects, providing access to underground parking for 85 cars and 120 bikes.

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And at the southern end of the development, the dead end spur of 19th Street would become a 8,900 square foot public art space, the proposed "Decompression Plaza."

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If all goes as planned, the site should be approved for development by early 2014.

Café Cocomo's Dancing Days Are Numbered, Condos Coming Soon? [SocketSite]
Plans For 120 New Condos Where Café Cocomo Stands (Or Shakes) [SocketSite]
650 Indiana [Build Inc.]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (50) | (email story)

August 7, 2013

A Flip-Flop For Pet Food Express And Formula Retail In SF?

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Due to "public opposition based on the competitive advantage of Formula Retail," San Francisco’s Planning Commission voted 5 to 2 to deny Pet Food Express' application to renovate and occupy the former Blockbuster Video store on Lombard at Divisadero in 2009. The site has sat vacant since.

With a new study in hand concluding that Pet Food Express' proposed store "will not cause other pet specialty retail stores in San Francisco, as a group, to lose sales revenue," San Francisco’s Planning Department now supports Pet Food Express' proposed move. We'll note the aforementioned study was funded by Pet Food Express.

From the Planning Department’s recommendation of approval for Pet Food Express' new application to occupy the Lombard Street site:

Through analysis of the current mix of Formula Retail and independently owned retail outlets on Chestnut and Union Streets, it appears that the two types of ownership formats can co-exist as both those streets enjoy robust commercial activity, are considered destination neighborhoods, and neighborhood investment and pride is apparent. In comparison, Lombard Street has a much lower concentration of Formula Retail outlets and does not enjoy the level of commercial activity or investment similar to Chestnut and Union Streets do.

And atop the Department's basis for their approval: "The project promotes a viable retail outlet on Lombard Street which could act as a catalyst for additional commercial investment along Lombard Street."

On August 8, the members of San Francisco’s Planning Commission will once again cast their votes with four merchant associations supporting the proposal, four against, and signatures from local residents running five to one against.

Pet Food Express and Pets Unlimited Lombard Street Hearing Packet [sfplanning.org]
The Formula For Success Or Protectionism In San Francisco? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

Ballot Measures Double Feature: The Battle Over 8 Washington

With the opposing ballot measures over the development of 8 Washington Street having been designated propositions B and C, it's time for the dueling ballot measures double feature:

The Brewing 8 Washington Street Ballot Measure Battle Simplified [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

August 6, 2013

Plan To Convert San Francisco Design Center Building Pitched

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A plan to convert over two-thirds of the San Francisco Design Center building at 2 Henry Adams Street from showroom space to general office use has been pitched to Planning.

Zoned for Production, Distribution & Repair (PDR), the conversion of the building to office use is not allowed by San Francisco’s Planning Code as of right. In fact, the conversion flies in the face of a key objective of San Francisco’s Showplace Square/Potrero Hill Area Plan which seeks to preserve the supply of PDR space within the district.

Another key objective of the Showplace Square/Potrero Hill Area Plan, however, is to ensure the economic viability of historically significant buildings, providing an exception for the conversion of such buildings to office use. And as such, the owners of 2 Henry Adams are planning to seek a Landmark Designation for the building which would clear the way for its conversion.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

San Francisco Fountain Sculptor Ruth Asawa Has Died

Sculptor Ruth Asawa passed away last night at the age of 87. The survival of Asawa’s San Francisco Fountain, a fixture of the Grand Hyatt Plaza, had been threatened by Apple’s proposed plans for a Union Square store, plans Apple has since been forced to revisit.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

Another Big Threat To The Folks On The Hill?

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Just down the street from where Kaiser Permanente had proposed to build an 84-foot high building at the base of Potrero Hill but met with enough resistance from the "Save The Hill" folks that they moved their building to Mission Bay, the owner of the one-story warehouse at 1301 16th Street has been quietly drafting plans to build a big seven-story building.

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As drafted, the 68-foot tall building would front Carolina, 16th, and Wisconsin Streets and include 278 new dwelling units with a garage for up to 84 autos on the ground floor.

Fighting To Save Their Lower Potrero Hill Neighborhood (And Views) [SocketSite]
Kaiser Cancels Potrero Hill Plans, Will Build In Mission Bay Instead [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

August 5, 2013

Dueling 8 Washington Street Ballot Measures Designated B And C

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With big money fueling the fire and the ballot measure battle over the development of 8 Washington Street heating up, San Francisco's Department of Elections has just designated the "Open Up the Waterfront" initiative as Proposition B on this November's ballot.

The "No Wall On The Waterfront" referendum, which opposes the approved upzoning for the development, will be Proposition C.

The Brewing 8 Washington Street Ballot Measure Battle Simplified [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

Modern Dogpatch Development: Designs For 2290 Third Street

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As proposed, the little building and parking lot at the corner of Third and 20th streets will be razed to make way for a modern Dogpatch building designed by Kennerly Architecture.

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While the original proposal for the site envisioned a 7-story building with 52 dwelling units over 17,000 square feet of commercial space that would function as a large commissary with smaller sublet areas for local food providers, that proposal has been abandoned.

The development as now designed and proposed will rise six stories with 71 residential units over 1,700 square feet of ground floor retail and 49 parking spots.

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The design for the modern building includes an elevated rear yard over the garage off 20th Street and a vertical garden along the building’s Third Street façade:

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On Thursday, San Francisco’s Planning Commission will vote on whether or not to approve the project as proposed and allow the development by Build Inc. to move forward.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

August 2, 2013

The Impact Of A Proposed 31-Story Tower On SF's Waterfront

Proposing to raze the existing eight-story parking garage at 75 Howard Street and build a 31-story tower, rising 348 feet with 186 market rate condos over a ground floor restaurant and parking for 175 cars (click renderings to enlarge), the Environmental Impact Report for the project is slated to be reviewed by San Francisco’s Planning in September.

Currently zoned for development up to 200 feet in height, assuming the Environmental Impact Report is certified, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will need to approve a reclassification of the site's zoning for the project to proceed as proposed.

Any up-zoning of the site, however, would appear to conflict with San Francisco's Downtown Area Plan which calls for building heights to "taper down to the shoreline of the Bay" in order "to avoid visual disruption along the water while preserving topography and views."

And of course, should "The Friends of Yerba Buena" be successful in passing their "let the sun shine" ballot measure, the proposed 75 Howard Street project might need approval from the voters in San Francisco as well as the proposed tower would cast shadows on a couple of parks, perhaps even if only 200 feet tall.

The 75 Howard Scoop: Tower Design And Proposed Public Park [SocketSite]
Designs For A 350-Foot Tower To Rise At 75 Howard Street [SocketSite]
An Unfriendly Ultimatum "So The Sun Can Shine" In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (64) | (email story)

July 31, 2013

The Creative Design(s) For Developing A Big Dogpatch Block

800 Indiana Site

With an agreement in place to develop the Dogpatch parcel upon which the San Francisco Opera stores its sets, Archstone and Build Inc. are proposing a creative design for the block, breaking the 350-unit development into five buildings designed by four architects.

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The five distinct buildings designed by Kava Massih, Jon Worden, Peter Pfau, and Owen Kennerly are separated by landscaped courtyards, designed to create light and open spaces for the apartments while blocking the freeway behind the 800 Indiana Street site.

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Parking for 263 autos would be built below the buildings with the development team shooting to secure the entitlements to start building in early 2014.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

July 30, 2013

Moving Forward With Plans For 150 More Mid-Market Apartments

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Having purchased the vacant Mid-Market parcel at 1125 Market Street for $7.8 million in December, MacFarlane Partners has submitted draft plans for a 12-story building with 150 apartments over 3,000 square feet of commercial space along Market Street. A garage for 16 cars would be accessed from Stevenson Street, along which the parcel backs.

Recognizing a need to make Stevenson Street "a more livable and pedestrian-oriented street," San Francisco’s Planning Department is strongly suggesting "enhanced streetscape improvements" to Stevenson as part of the proposed project, including enhanced street furnishings and landscaping.

The proposed project currently exceeds the allowable density for the Mid-Market lot and will need special authorization from San Francisco’s Planning Commission to proceed.

Plans For 12 New Stories And Perhaps A Store Along Market Street [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

July 23, 2013

Appeal Of Vista Francisco Development Upheld, Building Blocked

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As we first reported about the proposed four-unit development at 70 Crestline Drive last year:

Fourteen years ago, the owner of the parcel at 70 Crestline Drive, upon which a 14-unit building and 6,300 square feet of undeveloped Vista Francisco land currently sits, proposed to subdivide the lot and build upon the undeveloped parcel.
Hitting a wall of neighborhood opposition and facing a Zoning Administrator that intended to deny the variance application necessary for the proposed building to rise, the request for the variance and project approval were withdrawn.
With 16 neighbors opposing, including nine in the building on the parcel, a proposal to build upon the undeveloped land is back. This time, however, the plan which was designed "to fit with the existing neighborhood, does not require any variance, and is in full compliance with all applicable zoning regulations, design guidelines and building codes."

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Approved for development by San Francisco’s Planning Commission with a permit to build issued this past May, the construction of a four-unit infill building at 70 Crestline Drive was appealed by the Twin Peaks Eastside Neighborhood Alliance.

Last week, the appeal was upheld by San Francisco's Board of Appeals, blocking the development of the undeveloped lot as previously approved.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

July 22, 2013

The Formula For Success Or Protectionism In San Francisco?

In 2004, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors adopted San Francisco’s first “formula retail” use controls, adding Section 703.3 (“Formula Retail Uses”) to San Francisco’s Planning Code to establish a definition of formula retail and a regulatory framework “to protect a diverse retail base with distinct neighborhood retailing personalities comprised of a mix of businesses.”

The Ordinance established the existing definition for formula retail as “a type of retail sales activity or retail sales establishment which, along with eleven or more other retail sales establishments, maintains two or more of the following features: a standardized array of merchandise, a standardized façade, a standardized décor and color scheme, a uniform apparel, standardized signage, a trademark or a servicemark.” This first identification of formula retail in the Planning Code provided the following controls:
1. Mandated Neighborhood Notification for most permitted uses in Neighborhood Commercial Districts (NCDs); 2. Required Conditional Use (CU) authorization for operation in specific blocks and lots in the area of Cole and Carl Streets and Parnassus and Stanyan Streets; and, 3. Established a prohibition on all formula retail uses within the Hayes-Gough Neighborhood Commercial District.
The 2004 Ordinance established a precedent for formula retail controls; a number of amendments in quick succession added districts in which formula retail uses require CU authorization, including: 2005 amendments that added the Haight Street NCD and the small-scale NCD along Divisadero Street between Haight and Turk Streets, and a 2006 amendment that added the Japantown Special Use District (SUD). In addition, a 2005 amendment added a prohibition on formula retail uses in the North Beach NCD. In 2006, Section 803.6 was added to the Planning Code, requiring CU authorization for formula retail uses in the Western SoMa Planning Area SUD.
In 2007, formula retail controls were further expanded when San Francisco voters approved Proposition G, the so-called “Small Business Protection Act,” which amended the Planning Code by adding Section 703.4, requiring CU authorization for formula retail uses (as defined in the Code) proposed for any NCD.

The passage of Proposition G set the stage for a series of further amendments to the Planning Code that have further limited formula retail uses in a range of zoning districts, through CU authorization requirements and prohibitions, as mapped above (click map to enlarge).

In 2007, a study by Ridley & Associates compared the economic impacts of "local stores" vs. "chain stores" and established three major findings:

First, formula retailers provide goods and services at a more affordable cost and can serve as retail anchors for developing neighborhoods. Second, these formula retailers can also attract new customers, and offer a greater selection of goods and services. Third, conversely, independent businesses generate a higher investment return, and overall economic growth, for the local economy in comparison to formula retailers…because they tend to pay higher wages; purchase goods and services from local businesses at twice the rate as chain stores; and employees and owners tend to live in the local area, therefore returning their earnings back to the local community.

In addition to seven other proposed or pending modifications to San Francisco’s formula retail controls which are already in the works, this week San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to consider a draft Ordinance from Supervisor Cohen to create the Third Street Formula Retail Restricted Use District along Third Street from Williams Avenue to Egbert Avenue and require Conditional Use authorization for any new formula retail use within said District.

With Formula Retail defined as more than eleven (11) locations, keep in mind that Blue Bottle Coffee, which now has six locations in the Bay Area and five in New York, would be prohibited from opening up a store on Third Street between Williams and Egbert without a hearing and special authorization from the Planning Commission.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (84) | (email story)

Proposing To Make San Francisco A No Fly Zone For Advertising

Originally drafted to "prohibit the use of aircraft, self-propelled, or buoyant objects to display any sign or advertising device" in the airspace over the America’s Cup course, the language in the ordinance proposed by Supervisors Kim and Avalos has been broadened to include the airspace over the City and County of San Francisco, and at all times.

From the findings to support the legislation: "Tourism, San Francisco’s largest revenue generating industry, benefits from the preservation of the City’s unique character, architecture and vistas. Reducing the amount of advertising in the City will help accentuate its distinctive appearance and the character that tourists visit the City to experience." Like Fisherman’s Wharf.

While the ordinance would add Article 49 to San Francisco’s Police Code to enforce the ban, keep in mind that it’s the federal government that regulate all aspects of civil aviation. And should San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approve the ban which would take effect 30 days from the ordinance's passage, it would likely fly into court.

And yes, if passed and upheld, that would mean no more Minions floating overhead.

Proposed Aerial Signs and Advertising Ban Ordinance [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

July 19, 2013

Commission Slated To Certify Mercy's Impact On Sixth Street

200 6th Street Rendering (www.SocketSite.com)

Two weeks from now, San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Mercy Housing to move forward with their plans to build a nine-story residential building with 67 affordable housing units on the corner of 6th and Howard streets, razing the Hugo Hotel and canvas from which Defenestration’s flying furniture has hung for years.

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The burned-out Hugo Hotel was acquired by San Francisco's Redevelopment Agency by way of eminent domain for $4.6 million back in 2009 while the owners of the building, which has been sitting vacant for nearly two decades, had been holding out for $7,000,000.

Defenestration

Assuming certification of the EIR, approval hearings for the project will soon follow. And assuming the project is approved and any appeals fail, the destruction of the Hugo Hotel will commence post haste and Mercy's $19 million project will take an estimated 20 months to complete.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

July 18, 2013

Polk Street Showdown: The Redrawn Lines, Lanes, And New Plan

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Having run head-on into a wall of seemingly unexpected opposition, the SFMTA was forced to revisit and redraw their plans for removing metered parking along Polk Street to make way for dedicated bike lanes from Union to McAllister.

The revised project has been divided into two segments, with two different designs for Polk Street, one from Union to California and another from California to McAllister.

Roughly 90% of the metered parking spaces on Polk Street between Union and California will be retained by adding a green bike lane in one direction, adding green shared lane markings in the other direction, and implementing morning tow-away regulations on the shared side of the street to provide more space for cars and bikes to share the road (click plan to enlarge):

From California to McAllister, roughly 50% of the metered parking spaces on Polk will be removed in order to install buffered bike lanes on either side of the street with a raised "cycle track" in the southbound direction (click plan to enlarge):

High visibility crosswalks, red zones near intersections to improve visibility, and corner "bulb-out" sidewalk extensions at key locations remain part of the overall plan for both segements.

The revised plan and designs will be presented to the public on July 25 (5pm at 1751 Sacramento Street) after which they will undergo a full environmental review. If approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors, the project will implemented as part of the planned repaving of Polk Street in 2015.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (90) | (email story)

July 17, 2013

An Unfriendly Ultimatum "So The Sun Can Shine" In San Francisco

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As we reported in May:

With San Francisco’s Planning Commission having cleared the way for Millennium Partners' proposed 706 Mission Street condo tower and Mexican Museum to rise up to 510 feet, 40 feet fewer than originally proposed, a group of homeowners from the adjacent Four Seasons Residences are preparing a ballot measure in an attempt to either block or significantly shorten the proposed building.
According to the San Francisco Business Times, the ballot measure being drafted by "The Friends of Yerba Buena" would attempt to strengthen the existing Proposition K which limits the casting of net new shadows on city parks but currently allows city commissions leeway in deciding whether or not a new building’s shadows should be allowed.
The proposed 706 Mission Street tower would cast a bit of new morning shadow upon San Francisco’s Union Square, but the City’s Recreation and Park Commission agreed to exempt the tower from the restrictions of Proposition K, ruling that the impact of the new shadows would not be adverse to the use of the park.
Taking exception to accusations that they're simply trying to protect their views, the group of homeowners claim not to be opposed to the new tower, simply to its impact on Union Square, and would apparently support the tower if it only rose to 351 feet in height.
The Four Seasons is 430 feet tall.

Unless Millennium Partners meets The Friends' demands by early next week, The Friends say they will move forward with their "let the sun shine on our parks" ballot measure "which would prohibit buildings over 40 feet tall that cast shadows on parks, unless approved by voters on a citywide ballot," a measure which would impact dozens of other developments in San Francisco.

According to the Business Times, former Supervisor Aaron Peskin will lead the ballot referendum for The Friends. And in related news, the list price for the The Penultimate Four Seasons Pad (765 Market Street #27A) has just been reduced $500,000, now asking $7,900,000.

Four Seasons' Homeowners Drop The Dreaded "B" Word [SocketSite]
Four Seasons owners give ultimatum in Mexican Museum height fight [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (81) | (email story)

Presenting The Strategy For Saving San Francisco's Japantown

Japantown%20Night.jpg

The strategy for saving San Francisco’s Japantown, seeking to secure Japantown’s future as the historical and cultural heart of the Japanese community and as a physically attractive, vibrant and thriving commercial district has been finalized.

The Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (JCHESS) includes the creation of a Community Development Corporation, a Community Benefits District, a Neighborhood Commercial District, and making improvements to Peace Plaza and the Buchanan Mall.

Japantown%20Plaza%20Rendering.jpg

The plan will be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission tomorrow with the public hearings needed for the JCHESS to become City policy anticipated to be held in September.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

July 12, 2013

Potrero Development Redesigned And Ready For Commission Vote

As we first reported earlier this year with respect to the proposed development of 480 Potrero Avenue, a site which has sat empty since 2005 and the designs for which have since been revised (click image above to enlarge):

Speaking of CEQA and the appeals process in action, the Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration which would have allowed the development of 480 Potrero Avenue to move forward was appealed late last year by the San Francisco Verdi Club, MUNA neighborhood association, and Potrero Hill neighbors.
The objections of the appellants include concerns that the project will "have an adverse effect on a scenic vista," will "substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings," and will "induce substantial population growth…and be out of character with the neighborhood."
While the Planning Department recommends that the Planning Commission uphold the Negative Declaration and allow the six-story development with 84 condos and 38 parking spaces to move forward, a Commission vote has been continued until at least the middle of May which will be over seven months since the Declaration was issued.

San Francisco's Planning Commission is finally set to decide the fate of 480 Potrero's proposed development next week. As the existing visual character and scenic vista currently appears:

480 Potrero Site (www.SocketSite.com)

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (48) | (email story)

Kaiser Cancels Potrero Hill Plans, Will Build In Mission Bay Instead

Kaiser Permanente’s Potrero Hill MOB Rendering

Kaiser Permanente has canceled their contentious plan to build an 84-foot high Medical Services Building at 16th and Mississippi and will build a few blocks away in Mission Bay instead.

"We...selected the site on the corner of 16th and Mississippi Streets in lower Potrero Hill, because of its close proximity to a large segment of our members. As we continued through the process, however, it became clear that building medical offices at this location was going to take more time and cost more than we had originally anticipated.
Ultimately, we have found an alternate site at 1600 Owens Street in Mission Bay, which is only a few blocks away and offers the same convenience for our members as the Potrero Hill location. The new site will allow us to open our medical offices about two years earlier than we would have been able to do otherwise — which means our members will have more convenient access to their health care much sooner. Located on the east side of I-280, the site is well-served by public transportation and in an area that’s devoted to innovative health care."

The 1600 Owens Street site is zoned for Medical Office use and a building up to 10 stories.

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Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

July 10, 2013

The Big Dollars Behind The 8 Washington Street Battle To Date

As of last month, No Wall on The Waterfront had raised $234,000 and spent $104,000 in their campaign to block the approved development of 8 Washington Street at the ballot box.

In addition, Boston Properties, owner of 4 Embarcadero Center to the west of 8 Washington Street, has spent $125,750 to block the development, second only to the individual spending of Barbara Stewart whose Bay views would be blocked by the development as well.

At the same time, Open Up the Waterfront has raised $464,990 and spent $322,000 to promote a competing ballot measure which would allow for the development of 8 Washington Street, with Pacific Waterfront Partners (the developer) having contributed $214,990, Cahill Contractors (the builder) having contributed $150,000, and Skidmore Owings & Merrill (the designer) having contributed $100,000 to the campaign.

Boston Properties has spent $125,000 to kill 8 Washington [Business Times]
The Money And Motivation Behind The Anti-8 Washington Measure [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

Blooming Big Plans For San Francisco Flower Mart Site

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While the site of the two-story San Francisco Flower Mart complex is currently zoned for development up to 55 feet in height, as part of Planning’s Central Corridor Plan the parcel could be up-zoned for heights of up to 65 feet (the "Mid-Rise Alternative") or even 85 feet (the "High Rise Alternative").

That being said, with plans for a mid-rise residential development on the site having fallen through in 2005, an ambitious new plan to raze 46,000 square feet of the Flower Mart and build a pair of office buildings rising up to 160 feet at the corner of Sixth and Brannan has been drafted and quietly submitted to Planning for their reaction.

The proposed project would yield over 500,000 square feet of office space, 80,000 square feet for parking, and 16,000 square feet of ground floor retail on the 575 Sixth Street site with a nine-story building connected to an 11-story building by pedestrian bridges at the fifth and sixth levels.

The project would also include an extension of Morris Street from Bryant to Brannan via new a pedestrian walkway.

The Planning Department’s initial reaction to the project and proposed heights:

The proposed heights significantly exceed what is allowed under the current zoning. The proposed heights also significantly exceed what is envisioned in the proposed Central Corridor Plan area for this site. The basic urban form and land use principles of the draft Central Corridor Plan are for a predominant mid-rise (55-feet to 130-feet tall) district with large floor plate character combined with strategically located and widely-spaced slender towers near key transit stops, with heights tapering down to Western SoMa (i.e. toward Sixth Street). Building heights as proposed will need extensive shadow, view, skyline, and immediate context analysis to assess the appropriateness of their heights, bulk, and spacing.
The Planning Department recommends the height of the eastern most building not exceed 85 feet tall per the proposed height limits; the building wing to the west should be sculpted to step down to Sixth Street and should not exceed 65 feet in height.

The Department does, however, support the development of a publicly accessible mid-block alley connecting Brannan with Morris ("as wide as the Morris Street right-of-way") and "recommends preserving the possibility of accommodating a new alley connecting Sixth Street to Morris Street and any future alley network typical of SoMa blocks."

In order for the project to proceed as proposed, the Board of Supervisors would need to approve a Height District Reclassification for the subject parcel. As the Board approved an up-zoning for the development of 8 Washington, why not here as well?

Are The Big Plans For San Francisco's Central Corridor Big Enough? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (52) | (email story)

Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Could Be Rolling By 2018

BRT Van Ness Design

The proposed design and Environmental Impact Report for San Francisco’s Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project have been finalized, are poised for certification and approval in September, and the project could be up and running by early 2018 assuming final approvals and construction commences by late 2015 as currenlty slated.

The Van Ness Avenue BRT project would run approximately two miles from Mission Street to Lombard Street, converting two mixed-flow traffic lanes into dedicated bus lanes with new stations, transit signal priority along the route, and the elimination of all left turns along Van Ness Avenue except at Lombard (northbound) and Broadway (southbound).

The touted benefits of the BRT route include a 32 percent reduction in travel time, a 40 percent reduction in delays, and a 50 percent increase in reliability.

The Design And Details For Rapid Transit (BRT) Down Van Ness Avenue [SocketSite]
Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Project Final Report [sfcta.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

July 8, 2013

More Housing For Prominent Mission Bay Block Number One

Mission Bay Block 1 Concept

The redevelopment plan for Mission Bay South was outlined and approved fifteen years ago. As part of the plan, the prominent Mission Bay Block 1, the northeastern gateway to the neighborhood, was zoned for the development of a 500 room hotel and up to 50,000 square feet of retail as rendered above. Last year Mission Bay Block 1 was sold to Strada Investment Group.

While hotel room and occupancy rates in San Francisco are booming, according to an analysis by Strada, the economic feasibility of a 500-room hotel "is not financially viable in today’s market" and the group has designed a plan for the site which includes the development of a 250-room hotel, 25,000 square feet of retail, and 350 residential units:

Mission%20Bay%20Block%201%202013.jpg

Having been passed by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on its first reading last month, tomorrow an amendment to the Mission Bay South redevelopment plan which was sponsored by the Mayor is slated to be approved, changing the zoning of Mission Bay Block 1 to allow for the development of Strada's desired 350 residential units as well.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

New Plans For Prime Transbay Parcel: 44-Story Condo Tower

524 Howard Street Site

San Francisco’s Planning Commission first approved entitlements for a 311-foot tall, 23-story office building to be built at 524 Howard Street back in 1989, but the ground was never broken and the prime Transbay adjacent parcel was foreclosed upon in 2011.

Authorization to operate a temporary parking lot on the site expired earlier this year. And while the new owners of the site are seeking an extension to continue operating the lot, they’re also working on a new plan to construct a 44-story condo tower on the site (click image to enlarge):

While an on-site board for the 524 Howard Street project announces "coming soon," keep in mind that plans for the newly envisioned 450-foot tower with facades on both Howard and Natoma have yet to be approved by Planning much less permitted for construction.

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

July 3, 2013

Modern Hayes Valley Building Revealed, Ready To Be Approved

DM Development’s proposal to demolish the parking lot at 450 Hayes Street and construct a modern four-story building on the old Central Freeway parcel in central Hayes Valley will be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission for approval next week, click images to enlarge.

With facades on Hayes and Ivy streets and a courtyard between, the proposed project will yield 41 condos, 20 parking spaces and 3,700 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

A typical interior, two-bedroom floor plan, and elements of its design:

As the 450 Hayes Street site currently appears:

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (59) | (email story)

Bigger Plans For Building On Sixth And Folsom Street Site

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Plans to demolish the former gas station and 16,000 square foot parking lot on the southeast corner of Folsom and 6th Street were first approved over a decade ago, with designs for a three-story building with 32 condos and 32 parking spaces to rise on the central East SoMa site.

While the ground was never broken and the permits cancelled in 2004, a new plan is now quietly making its way through Planning with designs for a seven-story building with 92 condos, 69 parking spaces, and nearly 4,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space on the corner lot.

As part of their preliminary assessment of the proposed project, the Planning Department is recommending that the development of the 301 6th Street parcel include public realm enhancements, "such as a bulb-out at the corner of Folsom and 6th and living alley treatments along Shipley."

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

June 26, 2013

Planning’s Assessment Of Apple’s Union Square Plans: Concerns And Considerations

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With Mayor Ed Lee having prematurely deemed the design and plans for Apple's proposed retail store on Union Square as being "quite simply incredible," San Francisco’s Planning Department is now on the record with their preliminary assessment of Apple’s plans, including concerns about "the proposed building’s energy performance, particularly given San Francisco’s commitments to climate change mitigation and adaptation."

The challenge of this site is arriving at a design that must serve several objectives equally: first, it must respond to the desired identity of the heart of San Francisco as defined in the Downtown Plan and the Urban Design Element of the City’s General Plan, and the KMMS Conservation District, while also answering to the desired identity of Apple Inc. In other words, it must be an integral part of San Francisco’s historic Union Square district and Apple both at the same time. Second, the design must also respond to San Francisco’s particular environment – its sun, wind, fog and the color of its light. Finally, the building should not be so purpose-built that it will look out of place in the future and not work for potential future tenants.

The Planning Department’s specific concerns with Apple’s proposed plan for the 300 Post Street site and a few suggestions for the project’s facades and integration:

1. Open Space Design. The Planning Department has concerns about the relationship between the proposed plaza design and the adjacent sidewalk. The proposal would reduce public visibility from the street toward the plaza by providing only a narrow stairwell, rather than the current wide cascading stairs. It would also result in a broad blank wall along much of the Stockton Street the sidewalk. Specifically, the Planning Department would like to see the edge of the open space along Stockton Street more integrated with the sidewalk. The Planning Department recommends the following modifications to the plaza so that it feels open and inviting to the public:
a. Maintain as wide of a staircase as possible into the plaza, in order to create a more visible, inviting and usable edge along the sidewalk. Consider eliminating the walls at the sidewalk and extending the stairs the entire width of the plaza to enhance the invitation and quality of the plaza area fronting the street.
b. Reduce the riser height and extend the tread depth of the staircase leading into the plaza.
c. Consider the retention or relocation of the Ruth Asawa fountain as a part of the new reconfigured plaza, perhaps connecting it to, and integrating it with, another water theme within the plaza. If not feasible, the Department would like to work with the Sponsors to find an alternative location for its display within the City.
d. Include identifying signage for the open space, consistent with Planning Code Section 138(i).
2. Historic Preservation. The design as proposed requires modifications to demonstrate compatibility with the KMMS Conservation District. The Department encourages a contemporary design for this project; however, the overall design and detailing should relate to the established patterns, rhythm and architectural character found within the District. Please see the description of the District’s character-defining features and design guidelines summarized in the Planning Code Compliance section of this letter, as well as Appendix E of Planning Code Article 11.
3. Architecture. While it is understood that the large transparent façade along Post Street and a large nontransparent wall along Stockton Street is integral to the design concept, the Planning Department believes that there are ways of achieving the desired design concept while still responding to the fine-grain scale found within the District.
Post Street Façade: The Post Street façade should feature increased modulation and definition, such as strengthening and defining the top and bottom of the building, incorporating vertical elements to break the contiguous plane of the glass wall, and/or adding color, pattern or texture to the glass wall. The Planning Department recommends creating a distinct and identifiable entry and articulating a base to create a usable edge of the building. The lack of articulation and the single-surface glazing wall of approximately 115’ absent a defined pedestrian entry is a departure from the characteristic pattern of the District.
Stockton Street Façade: The Stockton Street façade should include a more active, transparent treatment, as required through Planning Code Section 145.1, and discussed in more detail under the Planning Code Compliance section of this letter. The lack of transparent fenestration and articulation proposed along the Stockton Street façade would create an approximately 80’-0” blank wall along an important commercial street with high pedestrian volumes in the heart of the City’s premier retail district. While the slope and location of structural and programmatic building elements may preclude an ideal solution, possible means of achieving the intent may include a combination of the following: (a) fenestration that increases visibility into the store; (b) display windows; and (c) recessing the building wall from the street to allow for landscape, water and/or seating to generate an active zone, thereby tempering the otherwise minimally embellished Stockton Street façade.
Service Tower: The service tower should create a transition between the massing and detailing of the primary retail frontage and the adjacent historic fabric. Specifically, the service tower should use cladding material and fenestration patterns that are compatible with the surrounding context.
4. Streetscape. The Department recommends incorporating features recommended in the Downtown Streetscape Plan such as street trees and benches into the design, particularly along the Post and Stockton Street frontages.
5. Green Building. Proposed design features for the Post Street façade, particularly the contiguous expansive glazing wall, may result in a significant increase in energy consumption. The Planning Department recommends modifying the design by incorporating passive shading structures or by employing advanced glazing systems to reduce thermal loading and demonstrate a net reduction in energy consumption within the new structure. The San Francisco Department of the Environmental also expressed initial concerns to the Planning Department about the proposed building’s energy performance, particularly given San Francisco’s commitments to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

"The Planning Department will provide further detailed design review on the subsequent submission of materials and details to insure that an acceptable and compatible design is achieved."

Apple's Union Square Store Design: Simply Incredible, Indeed [SocketSite]
Apple's Plan For A Flagship Store On Union Square [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

Hiding Behind The Façade Of A Historic Resource

Deemed a historic resource, the façade of 421 Arguello Boulevard was saved while the building behind was razed to make room for 8 new housing units to rise (click image to enlarge). It’s the same approach that’s being proposed for the six story project at 1335 Larkin Street.

We’ll let you debate the effectiveness of the approach and 421's execution.

An Ideal Location For Twenty New Condos To Rise [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (23) | (email story)

June 25, 2013

Bay Commission Votes To Oppose Warriors Arena Bill Without Delay

Having passed in the State Assembly by a vote of 59-10, Phil Ting’s Assembly Bill 1273 which would revise the existing authorization to develop San Francisco’s Pier 30-32 for use as a cruise ship terminal and authorize the Port to approve the building of the proposed Warriors Arena without additional review or oversight from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) is now in the hands of the Senate.

Following a full-court press from the Mayor and local labor leaders last month, the BCDC agreed to avoid a formal vote opposing the bill and simply send a letter to legislators expressing their concerns about the attempted end run, giving the Warriors a month to work out their differences over the proposed arena project with the commission's staff.

Having failed to resolve their differences, the Commission has now formally voted 12-6 to "request that AB 1273 (The Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act) be placed on a two-year timetable so that it is not acted on by any Senate committee during this legislative year," or to formally oppose the bill should Assembly Member Ting decline the Commission's request to delay the legislation.

Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act Aims To Clear The Way For The Warriors [SocketSite]
Redesigned Warriors Arena Unveiled: A Peek Inside And Out [SocketSite]
Full-Court Press Postpones Bay Commission's Opposition To Arena Bill [SocketSite]
BCDC Letter to The Honorable Philip Y. Ting (Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act) [ca.gov]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (53) | (email story)

June 24, 2013

San Francisco Set To Sell Six City-Owned Acres For Development, Down In Mountain View

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Since 2002, the City of San Francisco has been trying to sell six undeveloped acres of land down in the middle of Mountain View.

Owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), two water lines from the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir to San Francisco run beneath the parcel at 450 North Whisman Road.

In 2005, the City of San Francisco entered into an option agreement to sell the parcel to developer KMJ Urban Communities (KMJ) for $8,100,000 with an easement to allow the SFPUC to service its water lines. And by 2007, a proposal to build a 69-unit development of rowhouses upon the 6.4 acre site had been proposed.

Facing neighboring opposition ("the proposed rowhouse development would undermine our neighborhoods identity and spirt, eroding the cooperation and mutual concern that now thrives here, and in time could destroy the sense of community that exists in out neighborhood") and pushback from the City of Mountain View, the option agreement between KMJ and the City of San Francisco expired in 2011.

This afternoon, the sale agreement is slated to be revived without any adjustment in the sale price and with KMJ planning to immediately develop a 3.59 acre portion of the site which would be consistent with the City of Mountain View’s General Plan, circumventing additional environmental review and pushback from the City.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

June 21, 2013

Plans To Develop A Potrero Hill Parcel, I-280 Be Damned (Or Not)

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Purchased for $1,400,000 this past December having been listed for $1,800,000, the buyers of the 12,000 square foot Potrero Hill parcel at 98 Pennsylvania Avenue have drafted plans to construct a five-story residential building on the irregularly shaped site which currently serves as a parking lot.

The draft plan for the parcel includes 45 units over an underground parking garage with space for 36 cars and 22 bikes.

Bounded by the elevated I-280 Freeway along the northeastern and eastern borders of the site and 17th Street to the south, you can bet there’s at least one group who wouldn’t mind if the conceptual plan for razing I-280 north of 16th Street was extended a few blocks to the south.

98%20Pennsylvania%20Aerial.jpg

A Bold Plan To Tear Down I-280 North Of 16th Street In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

June 20, 2013

Condo Conversions: The Clock Is Ticking For The Mayor To Act

Upheld by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors in another 8-3 vote, unless Mayor Ed Lee vetoes San Francisco's new Condominium Lottery Bypass within the next eight days, the legislation will become law and new rules for condo converting in San Francisco will take effect by the end of July.

The final language and summary for the amended legislation, including additional detail on the so-called "poison pill" should any lawsuits challenging the legislation be filed:

This Ordinance would suspend the condominium conversion lottery until at least 2024.
Between the effective date of the legislation and April 15, 2020, referred to as the Expedited Conversion program, specified 2-6 unit buildings could convert to condominiums once the applicants meet certain identified requirements for ownership and owner-occupation terms and pay a $20,000 per unit condominium conversion fee. The fee would be reduced 20% for every year before 2013 that the building participated in the lottery. The fee revenue collected would be placed into two different Mayor's Office Housing funds with 75% earmarked for the Housing Trust Fund and 25% dedicated to small site acquisition to purchase market rate housing and convert it to affordable housing.
The Ordinance also would require that: (1) all non-purchasing tenants at the time of final or parcel map approval of the condominium subdivision be presented with a written offer for a lifetime lease with certain specified terms, (2) there be a binding and recorded agreement between the owner(s) and the City concerning the lease and (3) there be a binding and recorded lifetime lease between the owner(s) and the tenant(s) if the tenant(s) accept the written offer. The legislation would adopt special provisions that apply if there is a contract or option to sell a unit or interest in a building potentially subject to a lifetime lease. In recognition of the lifetime lease requirements, buildings would receive a refund on the condominium conversion impact fee tied to the number of units associated with a lifetime lease. The Ordinance would establish time periods and procedures to pay the fee or to defer fee payment and complete steps in the conversion process. The legislation provides for a public notice and comment period and potential public hearings in advance of any tentative approval action of the map by the Department of Public Works.
The legislation would provide that after suspension of the condominium conversion lottery, which can be no earlier than 2024, the lottery would resume either when the maximum suspension period is reached based on a formula related to conversions pursuant to the expedited conversion process or earlier if the City meets specified thresholds for production of new affordable units. When the lottery resumes, the Ordinance would limit the maximum building size for conversion to a 4-unit building, although an exception is provided for certain 5 or 6-unit buildings that meet specified qualifications. While the owner-occupancy requirement would stay the same as current law (3 years), the legislation also would require that any 3-unit building have at least 2 owner-occupants and any 4-unit building have at least 3 owner occupants. In addition, the legislation would prohibit buildings from participating in the lottery if there were certain evictions within a 7-year period before the lottery.
The Ordinance contains a provision that if any lawsuit is filed against two specific sections of the legislation, the expedited conversion program would be suspended at the time the lawsuit is served on the City and until a final judgment is issued in favor of the City. During this time, applicants could seek a refund of the conversion fee and any unexpended permit fees. When the lawsuit is served on the City, the City would not accept any new conversion applications.
Depending on which of the two identified sections of the new law is challenged, the impact to pending applicants would be different. If the challenged provision is the new proposed Section 1396.5 (suspension of the condominium lottery), then any pending applicant who obtains a final and effective tentative parcel map or tentative map on or before 6 months from the service of the lawsuit can proceed to final parcel map or subdivision map approval for the conversion under the Expedited Conversion program. If the challenged provision is the new proposed Section 1396.4(g) (property owner obligations related to the lifetime lease) or both Sections 1396.4(g) and 1396.5, then: (1) any pending applicant who did not obtain a final and effective tentative parcel map or tentative map on the date of service of the lawsuit would be prohibited from converting through the Expedited Conversion program and (2) any pending applicant who obtained a final and effective tentative parcel map or tentative map prior to the date of service of the lawsuit could proceed to final parcel map or subdivision map approval for the conversion. In addition, if only Section 1396.4(g) is challenged, then a building that does not have any non-owning tenants can apply for conversion and obtain a final parcel or subdivision map at any time as long as it meets the requirements of the Expedited Conversion Program.
The Ordinance specifies that if a court upholds a challenge to Section 1396.4(g), Section 1396.5, or both, then the Expedited Conversion program will resume. If a court finds that Section 1396.4(g), Section 1396.5, or both is/are invalid, then: (1) the Expedited Conversion program will terminate for those buildings not otherwise authorized to convert, (2) the condominium conversion lottery will resume in January 2024, and (3) the Board would hold a public hearing(s) to consider revisions to the condominium conversion process that are consistent with the court’s findings, among other issues. The Ordinance also would adopt environmental findings.

The full text of the amended and approved legislation: Condominium Conversion Fee Ordinance.

Potentially Problematic Condo Conversion Legislation Approved [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

June 19, 2013

Beware The Renderings Of Giants

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San Francisco’s Planning Commission will decide whether or not to approve Chipotle Mexican Grill’s application to renovate and open in the vacant Upper Market building at 2100 Market Street on Thursday, Chipotle’s rendering for which is presented above. In the words of an observant reader: "I like how the people in the rendering are all about 50% taller than those in the actual photo."

2100%20Market%20Street%20Building.jpg

Relative to the actual heights for the poles, signs, and signal lights included in Chipotle’s rendering above, the average rendered person on the street would measure over ten feet tall, the gentleman in the crosswalk over eleven. In the words of our reader again: "The fact that this makes the rendered building look smaller is, I'm sure, just a coincidence."

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

Ferry Terminal Improvements: Function, Efficiency, And Visual Fit

Ferry%20Terminal%20Aerial.jpg

The proposed expansion and improvement of San Francisco’s Ferry Terminal includes three new berthing facilities, new covered passenger queuing areas, and a new public Embarcadero Plaza located between the Ferry and Agriculture buildings, infilling the existing lagoon (click to enlarge).

San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) will hold a public meeting on the project and provide their comments on the proposed Ferry Terminal project this afternoon.

The HPC is slated to generally support the designs for the new Embarcadero Plaza and berthing facilities, but they’re not too keen on the proposed photovoltaic canopies, questioning their function, efficiency, and visual fit with the Ferry Building.

Ferry%20Terminal%20Canopy.jpg

The Commission's reaction and draft response to the proposed canopies, a position which should be formalized this afternoon:

The HPC concurs with the recommendations to refine the design of the new canopies and eliminate the canopy extending in front of the north façade of the Ferry Building. Overall, the HPC finds that the design of the new canopies should be refined to better relate to the adjacent historic resources and the surrounding historic district.
Specifically, the HPC questioned the function and efficiency of the new photovoltaic panels on the canopies given their location and orientation. Further, the HPC found that the new canopy design would not appear to sufficiently shield passengers from wind and rain, due to the current design’s height and upslope.
In addition, the HPC commented on the number of canopies and their impact upon the view of the Ferry Building and the San Francisco Bay. The HPC questioned the number of varying design expressions introduced into the area, which would be caused by the new photovoltaic canopies in combination with the existing East Bayside Promenade, entry portals to the new berthing facilities, and other existing site elements.
The HPC also requested additional information on the queue time for the various ferry terminals and the justification for permanent canopies. The HPC questioned whether the destinations with longer queues could be moved to one of the other berthing facilities with longer canopy elements. Ultimately, the HPC found that the current design is not compatible with the surrounding historic resources, and would impact the visual setting of the Ferry Building.

With seven new routes and ferry service from downtown San Francisco to Berkeley, Richmond, Treasure Island, Hercules, Martinez, Antioch and Redwood City planed to be introduced between 2014 and 2030, San Francisco's ferry terminal will serve a projected 32,000 riders per weekday by 2035, up from around 10,000 passengers across six ferry routes today.

The Plans To Expand San Francisco's Ferry Terminal And Service [SocketSite]
The Need And Numbers For San Francisco's Ferry Terminal Expansion [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

June 18, 2013

Chipotle's Designs For Upper Market And Planning's Opposition

2100%20Market%20Street%20Site.jpg

This week, San Francisco’s Planning Commission is set to review and vote on Chipotle’s request to renovate and occupy the vacant one-story building at 2100 Market Street which was last occupied by the restaurant "Home" two years ago.

2100%20Market%20Street%20Building.jpg

The project would not increase the exterior dimensions of the existing building but would involve interior improvements and alterations to the building's facade.

2100%20Market%20Street%20Rendering.jpg

The project would create a 600 square‐foot outdoor patio to the west of the building where there is currently a partially enclosed storage area, screened from Market Street behind an eight foot high wall which Chipotle would adorn with a mural.

2100%20Market%20Street%20Plan.gif

Supporting Chipotle's project: The Merchants of Upper Market & Castro; the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District; 34 letters/emails from local merchants; 48 letters/emails from the public; a petition of support with 1,661 signatures; and an online petition with 433 signatures

Opposing Chipotle’s project: the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association; 10 letters/emails local merchants; 3 letters/emails from the public; a petition in opposition with 255 signatures; and an online petition with 773 signatures.

And the recommendation from San Francisco's Planning Department to the Commission: disapprove Chipotle’s request to renovate and occupy the former Home on Market Street as proposed.

The stated basis for the Planning Department’s recommendation:

There are currently 10 Formula Retail Uses that occupy commercial frontage within 300 feet of the project site that include Sterling Bank & Trust, Ace Hardware, Walgreens, Crossroads Trading, Good Feet, Safeway, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, GNC, and Mike’s Camera that occupy approximately 733.5 linear feet of commercial frontage within 300 feet of the project site, resulting in a formula retail concentration of approximately 27%. The proposed Chipotle would further increase the concentration formula retail to approximately 36% within 300 feet of the project site.
The Upper Market NCT is already well served by several nearby independently owned restaurants, Casa Mexicana at 180 Church, Taqueria El Castillito at 136 Church, and Chilango at 235 Church that already offer products that similar or identical to those offered by Chipotle.
The Project would be detrimental to the neighborhood by occupying a prominent corner lot with a formula retail use that uses standardized color schemes, decor and signage that will detract from the distinctive character of the Upper Market Neighborhood which includes primarily local, independent retail businesses.

Last month, San Francisco’s Planning Commission shot down Starbucks’ proposal to renovate and occupy the retail space at 2201 Market Street (in part based on the Planning Department’s concerns with respect to the concentration of formula retail in the area) but approved the application for CVS to renovate and occupy a long vacant retail space at 2280 Market Street, roughly 400 feet away from the proposed Starbucks.

Unmentioned by Planning, the potential for building up to 65-feet high on the 2100 Market site.

Starbucks' Market Street Plan Shot Down By Planning [SocketSite]
The Designs For 2201 Market Street And Great Starbucks Divide [SocketSite]
Planning For A CVS: The Designs For 2280 Market Street [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (77) | (email story)

June 17, 2013

Designs For Building Up On Brannan And Parking Going Down

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As a plugged-in reader noted when we first published the plans to build upon the 94 space parking lot at 345 Brannan Street, plans to raze the regularly filled parking lot and single-story building behind the lot at 270 Brannan on the other side of Second Street are also in the works.

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As proposed, an office building rising five and seven stories high with 172,000 square feet of space and parking for 12 cars will be constructed upon the Brannan Street site between the historic Hawley and Gallo buildings.

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Between the building's five-story facade along Brannan Street and its seven story height behind, a private 5,000 square foot atrium would sit (as could the building’s tenants):

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In addition to 12 parking spaces, a net loss of roughly 100 spaces for the site, the basement of the building would include parking for 33 bikes with adjacent showers and lockers.

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From the Planning Department with respect to the building’s proposed design and fit within San Francisco’s South End Landmark District:

270 Brannan Street is located in a mixed character area of the landmark district with examples of older brick warehouses with deeply recessed openings and newer reinforced concrete warehouses with steel‐sash windows. The proposed project addresses this mixed character area by directly referencing the adjacent historic resources, and by incorporating similar design elements, including a high proportion of mass to void, recessed fenestration, and a vertical façade orientation.
Along Brannan Street, the façade is organized to emphasis the vertical orientation as evidenced by the alternating bays of terracotta tile and fenestration and the reinforced concrete columns on the ground floor. In addition, this street façade provides for a seven‐inch setback between aluminum‐sash windows and the terracotta cladding, thus providing for a deep shadow line along the street façade.

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The proposed project is consistent and compatible with the district’s details, as evidenced by the proposed project’s façade organization and cornice articulation, which reference characteristics found within the South End Landmark District. The proposed project draws from the district’s typical warehouse façade design, as evidenced by the façade composition of base, shaft and cornice (Beaux‐Arts organization/form) and larger‐scale vehicular opening.
To reinforce the regularized tri‐partite composition, the Brannan Street façade includes a tall ground floor level with a heavy reinforced concrete belt course and three stories of alternating vertical bays of fenestration and terracotta tile capped by the simple painted metal angle cornice. The painted metal angle provides a contemporary and compatible interpretation of the district’s simple cornice lines. This façade organization references the organizational scheme of the later warehouses within the district, while still evoking the pilaster elements found within some of the district’s earlier brick warehouses.
As is common within larger district, the entryways feature additional detailing, including brick surrounds, smaller canopies and signage. The proposed project references the entryway details by providing for a simple projecting canopy, which denotes the project’s main entryway along Brannan Street.

San Francisco’s Architectural Review Committee (ARC) is slated to provide its thoughts on the building and its fit this week.

Parking Lot And Development Alert: The Designs For 345 Brannan [SocketSite]
San Francisco's Historic <1 Percent And Eleven Landmark Districts [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

Bike Lanes On Mission: An Even Better Market Street Plan?

Better Market Street Rendering

Speaking of designs for Market Street, this afternoon San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee will hear a proposal to construct separated bicycle lanes on Mission Street rather than on Market as originally proposed and discuss how diverting bicycles to Mission is "in the best interest of the City and San Francisco's Better Market Street Project."

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (59) | (email story)

Market Street Proposal Returned To Sender

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Having selected San Francisco as their West Coast urban pilot city, the United States Postal Service appears to have been caught off guard when the San Francisco Arts Commission Civic Design Review Committee rejected the Postal Service’s proposal to install three 22-foot-long, 8-foot-tall automated "gopost" lockers along Market Street last month.

The proposal called for one structure to stand in Hallidie Plaza, one on a plaza at Market and Drumm streets near the California Street cable car turnaround, and the third at 10th and Market streets. The one in Hallidie Plaza would have been against a railing above the sunken plaza; the other two would have perched between street trees on the sidewalk, their blank backs facing the street.

While the Postal Service is a federal agency, the city attorney’s office "issued an opinion that San Francisco has final say over the installation of such structures on public rights of way." The Postal Service is expected to present a revised proposal for the streets of San Francisco this month.

Wall of postboxes gets seal of disapproval [Chronicle]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

June 14, 2013

Fear, Loathing, And Exaggerations Atop Cathedral Hill

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From the "SOS Cathedral Hill" site which implores its readers to "get the facts about the massive luxury condo [proposed] on Cathedral Hill" and join them "in the fight to protect our neighborhood":

New York Developer Adco Group wants to build a massive 30+ story, 400 foot tall luxury condo on Cathedral Hill that would be visible from much of the city. This proposal is nearly double the height of any existing building on Cathedral Hill and will stick out like a sore thumb.
This structure does not fit in our neighborhood. In fact, it will put the many seniors who live in our neighborhood at risk. The increased traffic on Post St. will make worse an already unsafe environment for pedestrians.
The project will endanger pedestrians and seniors, increase traffic and strain already limited MUNI resources. We just can’t afford the risk.

With respect to getting the facts straight, while ADCO’s proposed tower would be the tallest building on the block, at 416 feet it’s nowhere near "nearly double the height" of the existing Sequoias building which tops out at 396 feet next door.

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And no, that's not One Rincon Hill in the rendering above (nor, unfortunately, is it the SOM design which had originally been drawn for the site).

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

Proposed Cathedral Hill Tower Redesigned, Planning Powering Up

1481 Post: SOM Model

While SOM’s designs for a 38-story, elliptical-shaped glass tower to rise atop Cathedral Hill have been kicked to the curb, ADCO has dusted off their plans to build a tower at 1481 Post Street with new designs for a 36-story tower rising up to 416 feet across from Saint Mary's Cathedral.

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An existing parking structure with tennis courts and a pool building would be razed to make way for the proposed tower off of Geary, the designs for which includes 262 condos, a subsurface garage, and café along Post Street at the northwest corner of the project site (click to enlarge):

The proposed 1481 Post Street building would consist of a ground-floor podium element, surmounted by a vertical tower element (398 feet tall, plus mechanical equipment, screening and architectural features to reach a total height of 416 feet). The 20-foot-tall ground floor would be set back about 47 feet from the Post Street sidewalk and about 10 feet from the Geary Boulevard sidewalk.
The proposed café at the northwest corner of the project site would project northward toward Post Street, set back about 15 feet from the Post Street sidewalk. Along its west façade, the ground-floor podium would bow outward in plan. The podium would be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the west property line shared with The Sequoias at the midpoint of the podium (separated by about 16 feet, 8 inches from the low-rise portion of the Sequoias building at that building’s nearest point). Within the west setback, a ground-level, publicly accessible pedestrian walkway would be constructed to provide a midblock passage between Post Street and Geary Boulevard. The pedestrian walkway would be gated at both ends and would be open to the public during daylight hours.
Along Geary Boulevard, the ground floor of the proposed 1481 Post Street building would include extensive glazing along its frontage, and would be separated from the sidewalk by a 10- foot-wide landscaped strip. The one-story street frontage of the proposed building’s base along Geary Boulevard would extend eastward with the proposed covered and enclosed loading area and a proposed one-story pool addition further east along Geary Boulevard, forming a continuous one-story structure spanning the project site. A new fitness center entrance would be located along Geary Boulevard. The proposed pool addition frontage along Geary Boulevard would likewise include large glazed areas.
Above the podium, the proposed 1481 Post Street building tower shaft would be set back from Post Street by about 40 feet, from Geary Boulevard by about 46 feet, and from 1333 Gough Street on the project site by about 41 feet. The tower shaft would be set back by about 12 feet from the west property line shared with The Sequoias (separated by about 82 feet from the high-rise tower of The Sequoias). The proposed project’s tower shaft would rise straight upward for most of its height. The proposed 1481 Post Street building would be contemporary in architectural vocabulary and would include contrasting cladding systems, glazed curtain walls with metal mullions, and masonry-clad piers and spandrels.

Currently only zoned for 240-feet in height, San Francisco’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will need to approve an upzoning of the parcel to 410-feet in order for the project to proceed as proposed.

The shadows which would be cast by the proposed tower upon Cottage Row Mini-Park, Hamilton Recreation Center, Peace Plaza, and Raymond Kimbell Playground would also need to be deemed as not adverse to the use of the parks.

JustQuotes: The People (And Politics) Behind Buildings And Design [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

June 13, 2013

Moving Quietly (And Quickly) With Plans To Raze Manor West

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The owner of the one-story building at 750 Harrison Street, between Third and Fourth streets with a frontage on Rizal as well, is quietly working on plans to raze the one-story commercial building on the site and build an 8-story building of up to 85-feet in its place.

Currently home to SoMa's Manor West nightclub, the early designs for the proposed 8-story building on the site include 77 Single Room Occupancy units averaging 375 square feet; 2,826 square feet of commercial space; a common 2,671 square foot landscaped roof deck for residents; and one parking spot.

Currently zoned for 85-feet, San Francisco's proposed Central Corridor Plan maintains the 85-foot height limit on the Harrison Street side of the 750 Harrison Street parcel but downzones the Rizal Street side to 45 feet "in order to reduce any net new potential for shadow on the Alice Street Community Garden" which is due north of the site.

The Central Corridor Plan is currently anticipated to be up for adoption in late 2014. Approvals for the proposed 750 Harrison Street project would be assessed based on the height districts in place at the time that the entitlement's to build are sought, hence the "quickly" above.

Are The Big Plans For San Francisco's Central Corridor Big Enough? [SocketSite]
Planning For A Projected 190,000 New Jobs In San Francisco By 2040 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

June 12, 2013

Big Plans For A Little Parkside Parcel On Taraval

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While neighbors have yet to be notified, the owners of the Parkside parcel on the northwest corner of Taraval and 33nd Avenue are quietly testing the waters of Planning with designs to raze the existing 12-foot-tall, 960-square-foot auto shop at 2249 Taraval and build a 52-foot-tall, 18,000-square-foot building in its place.

Early designs for the building include seven dwelling units, 2,350 square feet of ground-floor retail, and eight off-street parking spaces which would be accessed from a curb cut along 33rd Avenue.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

June 11, 2013

The Dead Serious Designs For Miniature Golf In The Mission

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Formerly a mortuary, San Francisco’s Planning Commission approved the redevelopment of 1096 South Van Ness Avenue for use as a restaurant in 2005. And while some improvements for that project were completed, the restaurant never opened and the building sits vacant.

Tomorrow, the Planning Commission will vote on whether or not to allow Urban Putt’s proposal to open a 2,100 square foot miniature golf course, bar and restaurant in the building on the northwest corner of South Van Ness and 22nd Street to proceed.

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Early designs for the proposed eighteen-hole course include the Trans American Windmill and More Cowbell on hole number 13:

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The restaurant and bar would be primarily located on the second floor, click the plans for the building to enlarge.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

June 7, 2013

Will San Francisco's Condominium Lottery Legislation Be A Winner?

Having been sent back to San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee for another round of amendments, the proposed condominium conversion lottery bypass legislation is once again slated to be voted upon by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors next week.

The proposed legislation would establish a bypass period during which qualifying TICs could condo convert for a fee; establish lifetime leases for tenants in converting non-owner occupied units; restrict future condominium lotteries to buildings with no more than four units; and suspend San Francisco’s annual condominium conversion lottery until at least 2024.

While originally co-sponsored by Supervisor Wiener, he no longer supports the newly amended legislation as proposed which includes a couple of important changes:

Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of applicant owners of record for no less than five years as of April 15, 2013 would immediately qualify for the bypass. Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of applicant owners of record for no less than three years as of April 15, 2014 would qualify on that date.

Buildings which did not qualify or participate in either the 2012 or 2013 lotteries would eventually be eligible to participate in the bypass assuming a formal TIC agreement was in place as of April 15, 2013 and the required number of applicant owners have continuously occupied the building for at least six years by April 15, 2019.

In other words, TIC buildings in which the owner applicants weren't in place by April 15, 2013 would never qualify for the bypass and five or six unit TIC buildings which don't qualify for the bypass would never qualify for conversion as proposed.

And yes, the proposed legislation still contains the provision that if any lawsuit is filed against the legislation (see previous paragraph for a hint as to who might quickly file), the bypass would be suspended until the lawsuit was settled or until 2024, whichever comes first.

UPDATE: Two key changes in the legislation as newly amended: 1. The program has been extended by a year (i.e., the cutoff date for being bypass eligible is now April 15, 2013 rather than April 15, 2012); and 2. The "poison pill" provision would now suspend both the bypass and the lottery until any legal challenges are settled, as previously written the lottery would have resumed.

Amended Condominium Conversion Impact Fee Legislation [sfbos.org]
TIC Owners, Occupiers, Buyers, Agents And Attorneys Take Note [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

June 6, 2013

Deal Reached For Massive First And Mission Street Towers Site

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As we first reported two weeks ago, the plans for a couple of big towers to rise at First and Mission streets were recently reworked and resubmitted to Planning with designs for an 850-foot-tall office tower fronting First Street, a 605-foot-tall condo tower fronting Mission Street, and a renovation of the 88 First Street building on the corner rather than a third tower as was originally proposed.

Today, TMG Partners and Northwood Investors tentatively agreed to pay $122 million for the site in United States bankruptcy court having "hammered out [a deal] between investor David Choo, the previous owner of the site, and MS Mission Holdings, which had bought the loan on the property and foreclosed on it after Choo had defaulted."

With the disputed ownership of the site now settled (Choo was contesting the foreclosure), expect the project to quickly power up.

Plans For Landmark Tower(s) At First And Mission Are Powering Up [SocketSite]
TMG Partners, Northwood to take over massive Transbay project [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

The Brewing 8 Washington Street Ballot Measure Battle Simplified

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Once again, the approved 8 Washington Street project would raze the existing Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club and adjacent Port of San Francisco owned parking lot and construct a 165-unit condo building rising up to 136 feet in height upon the site.

The development would also yield new retail, a fitness facility with outdoor pools, and 30,000 square feet of public open space, playground, and park (click images to enlarge).

While not labeled on "Open up the Waterfront's" schematic for the proposed 8 Washington Street project above, the new recreation center and pools would remain private as would the green space between the proposed condominium buildings ("Housing").

Originally zoned for buildings up to 84 feet in height, a portion of the 8 Washington Street parcel was upzoned to 136 feet to accommodate the development, the basis for the brewing 8 Washington Street ballot measure battle.

Simplified, the "No Wall on The Waterfront" ballot measure would overturn the upzoning for the parcel whiles the proposed "Open up The Waterfront" ballot measure would maintain the increase in height and allow the project to move forward as approved. And while a few people found our presentation of the two competing measures earlier this week a bit confusing, that was part of the point.

As of noon today, the "Likes" for the proposed 8 Washington Street development are outpacing the "Dislikes" by a ratio of 15 to 2.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

From Fill 'Er Up To Build 'Em Up On Ocean Avenue: 1490 Rendered

1490 Ocean Avenue

As plugged-in people have known was in the works since 2011, the plan to raze the gas station at 1490 Ocean Avenue and build a four-story building with 15 condos over ground-floor retail and 15 parking spaces has been making its way through Planning.

This afternoon, the project is up for approval by the Planning Commission to proceed.

The project includes nine three-bedroom units and six two-bedrooms.

From the Planning Department which recomends the project be approved:

The project is desirable for, and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. The additional building height is appropriate for a corner location and the building’s neo-traditional style is consistent with the neighborhood which is defined by buildings from the 1920s and ‘30s. The project site is much larger than the average lot within the District but it is located on a prominent corner site where a larger development is more appropriate to add emphasis and frame the intersection. The façade of the project will contribute to the positive visual quality of the district, which does not possess a prevailing architectural style.

As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

From Fill 'Er Up To Build 'Em Up At Ocean And Miramar As Proposed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

June 4, 2013

CVS's Intense Plans For An Empty Building On 19th Avenue

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Built as an auto showroom, the 32,000 square foot building at the corner of 1900 19th Avenue and Ortega Street has sat empty since 2009 when the US Postal Service vacated, having used the building for a sorting facility for twenty-five years.

For the past two years, CVS has been working on plans to remodel, repurpose and convert the building into a formula retail store (click designs to enlarge).

The building’s loading dock would be converted to retail space, replaced by an on-street loading area along Ortega. Atop the building, a primary parking area would provide 31 parking spaces. A parking lot across the street would be used for accessory parking.

This week, San Francisco's Planning Commission will decided the store’s fate with the Planning Department recommending against the project. A plugged-in reader reports:

The planning staff have recommended disapproval of the project, presumably due to complaints from parents at the school across 19th Ave.
Ironically, a primary reason the staff oppose the location is that Noriega St. "includes four other pharmacies that are located a few blocks away", contradicting their rationale for allowing the [Market] Street location.
It's worth noting that CVS has been doing outreach for the last 2 years and many neighbors are supportive of the project.

While the Planning Department also argues that the "intensity" of the proposed store is out of scale with the small neighborhood commercial district and would "foreclose any opportunity for locally owned neighborhood oriented uses to be developed in the district," the project sponsor notes a national retailer is likely the only type of business capable of financing the development of the "white elephant" building and the existing commercial district "provides virtually no service whatsoever to the neighborhood at large."

If the proposal happens to be approved, CVS plans to file for a building permit as soon as possible with hopes of opening the store by the Spring of 2014.

1900 19th Avenue: CVS Proposal And Conditional Use Hearing [sfplanning.org]
Planning For A CVS: The Designs For 2280 Market Street [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

A New Formula For Keeping Out Foreign Threats

Hayes Valley was the first neighborhood in San Francisco to ban formula retail (i.e., "chain stores"), having adopted the ban nearly a decade ago in order to block Starbucks from opening on Hayes Street. As written, the formula retail ban blocks businesses with eleven (11) or more retail stores in the U.S. from opening on Hayes Valley’s commercial corridor.

With only eight (8) stores in the U.S., giant formula retailer GANT opened a retail store two months ago at 552 Hayes, smack-dab in the middle of the Hayes Valley corridor.

Spearheaded by concerned local merchants fearing "incursions from formula retail," Supervisor London Breed has since introduced proposed legislation to extend Hayes Valley's formula retail ban to establishments with eleven or more locations anywhere in the world, noting "Hayes Valley must protect its vibrant and expanding small business sector, and maintain its supportive environment for new small business innovators."

As some might recall, two weeks ago San Francisco’s Planning Commission approved the opening of a CVS at 2280 Market Street, based in part upon the Planning Department's recommendation that the competition with other retailers would result "in prices that are more competitive and a greater availability of goods and services."

The proposed Hayes Valley amendment would also extend the formula retail ban to establishments with fewer than eleven locations if fifty percent or more of "the stock, shares, or any similar ownership interest of such establishment is owned by a formula retail use, or a subsidiary, affiliate, or parent of a formula retail use."

Formula Retail Use for Hayes-Gough Neighborhood: Proposed Amendment [sfbos.org]
Planning For A CVS: The Designs For 2280 Market Street [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (72) | (email story)

June 3, 2013

Open Up The Waterfront!

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The approved 8 Washington Street project would raze the existing Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club and adjacent Port of San Francisco owned parking lot and construct a 165-unit condo building rising up to 136 feet in height upon the site which was originally zoned for up to 84 feet. The development would also yield new retail, a fitness facility with outdoor pools, and 30,000 square feet of public open space, playgrounds, and parks.

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From the "Open up the Waterfront" website which backs a proposed "8 Washington Parks, Public Access and Housing Initiative" to uphold the upzoning for the 8 Washington site, the signature gatherers for which were on the sidewalks of San Francisco this past weekend:

The 8 Washington Parks, Public Access and Housing Initiative is a proposed city measure that, if approved by voters, will open the way for new public parks, increased access to The Embarcadero Waterfront, hundreds of construction jobs, new sustainable residential housing and funding for new affordable housing. And it empowers voters with the decision on how to best utilize our waterfront.
Currently the site at 8 Washington has a 1,735 foot fence — over five football fields long — that blocks public views and public access to the waterfront. Today, the is site is also defined by a 27,000 square foot asphalt parking lot, which draws toxins into our Bay waters and an exclusive private tennis club behind the massive fence.
In the event that this Initiative and any other [related] initiative are approved by the voters at the same election, and this initiative receives a greater number of affirmative votes than any other such measure or measures, this measure shall control in its entirety and the other measure or measures shall be rendered void and without any legal effect.

The Open up the Waterfront initiative is being paid for by "San Franciscans for Parks, Jobs and Housing" with major support from Pacific Waterfront Partners, the developer of the proposed 8 Washington Street Project.

Consider "Liking" this post in order to show your support for the proposed Open up the Waterfront ballot measure which will also register your vote in our informal poll.

And while there’s no "Dislike" button for those who oppose this proposed pro-8 Washington Street measure, there is a countermeasure for you to "Like" instead: No Wall On The Waterfront!

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

No Wall On The Waterfront!

No%20Wall%20on%20The%20Waterfront.jpg

The approved 8 Washington Street project would raze the existing Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club and adjacent Port of San Francisco owned parking lot and construct a 165-unit condo building rising up to 136 feet in height upon the site which was originally zoned for up to 84 feet. The development would also yield new retail, a fitness facility with outdoor pools, and 30,000 square feet of public open space, playgrounds, and parks.

8%20Washinton%202013.jpg

From the Sierra Club which opposes the 8 Washington Street development:

A coalition of environmental and neighborhood groups collected 31,000 signatures in less than 30 days last summer to ask voters whether they want to approve increased waterfront height limits to allow a high-rise luxury condo complex to be built at 8 Washington Street. The tower would be built on publicly owned waterfront land along the Embarcadero across from the Ferry Building and on an adjacent private lot that currently houses a well-used family recreation and sports center.
For decades the Sierra Club has worked for strict building height limits on San Francisco’s waterfront to keep it open for public use and enjoyment rather than blocked by a wall of high-rise towers, as has happened to public waterfronts in Miami, San Diego, and elsewhere.
The Club will be working throughout 2013 with a citywide coalition of neighborhood associations, waterfront businesses, and tenant groups called "No Wall on the Waterfront" to urge San Francisco voters to reject the 8 Washington waterfront height-limit increase on the Nov. 5 ballot.

As we first reported last year, the No Wall on the Waterfront initiative was funded in large part by a couple who live next to the 8 Washington site in a condo which was purchased for $2,400,000 with views over the tennis and swim club as one of its major selling points.

Consider "Liking" this post in order to show your support for the No Wall on the Waterfront ballot measure which will also register your vote in our informal poll.

And while there's no "Dislike" button for those who oppose this anti-8 Washington Street measure, there is a proposed countermeasure for you to "Like" instead: Open Up The Waterfront!

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

May 31, 2013

Four Seasons' Homeowners Drop The Dreaded "B" Word

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With San Francisco’s Planning Commission having cleared the way for Millennium Partners' proposed 706 Mission Street condo tower and Mexican Museum to rise up to 510 feet, 40 feet fewer than originally proposed, a group of homeowners from the adjacent Four Seasons Residences are preparing a ballot measure in an attempt to either block or significantly shorten the proposed building.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, the ballot measure being drafted by "The Friends of Yerba Buena" would attempt to strengthen the existing Proposition K which limits the casting of net new shadows on city parks but currently allows city commissions leeway in deciding whether or not a new building’s shadows should be allowed.

The proposed 706 Mission Street tower would cast a bit of new morning shadow upon San Francisco’s Union Square, but the City’s Recreation and Park Commission agreed to exempt the tower from the restrictions of Proposition K, ruling that the impact of the new shadows would not be adverse to the use of the park.

Taking exception to accusations that they're simply trying to protect their views, the group of homeowners claim not to be opposed to the new tower, simply to its impact on Union Square, and would apparently support the tower if it only rose to 351 feet in height.

The Four Seasons is 430 feet tall (click image below to enlarge):

Do keep in mind that the 706 Mission Street site is currently zoned for up to 400 feet but the Planning Commission is recommending an up-zoning for the parcel and that a strengthening of Proposition K to disallow any new shadowing of a park, regardless of severity, would apply to any new development in the city, not simply 706 Mission.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (42) | (email story)

May 30, 2013

Mayor On Proposed Union Square Apple Store Plan: iSpoke Too Soon?

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Having admitted "we weren't necessarily focused on that side" with respect to how the proposed Union Square Apple store would affect the existing Grand Hyatt Plaza and Ruth Asawa fountain on the site, Mayor Ed Lee has said he'll now go visit the site in person to see whether the design he already deemed "quite simply incredible" might actually fit in.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

May 28, 2013

Apple's Union Square Store Design: Simply Incredible, Indeed

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As a number of readers quickly noted a couple of weeks ago, the preliminary designs for Apple's proposed store on Union Square would kill the Grand Hyatt Plaza behind the existing Levi's store and build an 80-foot long wall along Stockton Street. Ruth Asawa’s "San Francisco Fountain," a fixture of the plaza, would appear to get the axe as well.

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In the words of John King today, while there’s plenty of time to take the strong points of the design and "make it into something that feels like it belongs," that could be tough:

Apple's desire to move to Union Square from its current shop at 1 Stockton St. was announced by Mayor Ed Lee, who didn't stop there.
"Apple's new store is quite simply incredible," Lee gushed. "I can think of no better location for the world's most stunning Apple store. ... I want to thank Apple for their investment in this city and continued commitment to growing jobs in San Francisco."
With that kickoff, the City Planning Department can't send Apple and [Foster + Partners] back to the drawing board. It's another example of a task-oriented mayor's office putting an emphasis on upbeat press releases over a long-term commitment to the city's physical environment.

At the very least, both proponents and opponents of the proposed design are likely to agree, the proposal is simply incredible, indeed.

Apple's Plan For A Flagship Store On Union Square [SocketSite]
Boxy Apple store could shrink popular plaza [Chronicle]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (51) | (email story)

Full-Court Press Postpones Bay Commission's Opposition To Arena Bill

As proposed, Phil Ting’s Assembly Bill 1273 would revise the existing authorization to develop Pier 30-32 for use as a cruise ship terminal and authorize the Port to approve its development as a multipurpose venue (i.e., the proposed Warriors Arena) instead.

The bill which has already been passed by the Assembly’s Natural Resources, Local Government, and Appropriations committees would effectively bypass the Bay Conservation and Development Commission with respect to oversight of the development of the pier for an arena. As such, the commission's staff is opposed to the bill’s passage.

While the commission was slated to vote on its staff's recommendation to formally oppose Ting's bill, and the commission's meeting wasn't going too well for the Warriors, following a full-court press from the Mayor and local labor leaders, "the commission agreed to simply send a letter to legislators expressing their concerns about the attempted end run - and give the Warriors another month to try to work out their differences over the arena project with the commission's staff."

Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act Aims To Clear The Way For The Warriors [SocketSite]
Redesigned Warriors Arena Unveiled: A Peek Inside And Out [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

Planning For A Permanent Mercado Plaza In The Mission

Mercado%20Plaza%20Site.gif

Building on the success of the weekly Mission Community Market, plans for a permanent Mercado Plaza on Bartlett between 21st and 22nd streets are starting to take shape.

Mercado%20Plaza%20Rendering%20Street.jpg

The conceptual plan for the plaza is to create permanent pedestrian zones and a flexible urban space to accommodate the weekly Market and other neighborhood gatherings:

Mercado%20Plaza%20Rendering.jpg

With $1,600,000 in funds already dedicated to pedestrian and public space improvements along Bartlett Street, San Francisco’s Planning Department will co-host a community workshop on the plans for the Mercado Plaza tomorrow, May 29, from 6-7:30pm at 3543 18th Street (The Women’s Building, Room A).

Mercado Plaza Design Overview [missioncommunitymarket.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

May 24, 2013

Democratic Party Endorses No Wall On The Waterfront Ballot Measure

San Francisco's Democratic Party Central Committee has voted 15-4 to endorse the November "No Wall on the Waterfront" ballot measure which is designed to quash the 8 Washington Street development by overturning the partial upzoning of the site to 136 feet in height as was approved and upheld by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors.

As we first noted last year, should the upzoning for the 8 Washington Street development be overturned at the ballot box, the project might still be viable at 84 feet, but don't expect anyone to admit to such prior to the vote.

And should the measure pass, keep an eye out for any unintended, or perhaps intended, consequences with respect to the proposed Warriors Arena upon Pier 30-32.

8 Washington Approval Upheld But Now On Hold Until 2013 Election [SocketSite]
8 Washington Opponents Deliver On Anti-Development Threat [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (38) | (email story)

Plans For Landmark Tower(s) At First And Mission Are Powering Up

50%20first%20Street%20Site.jpg

Having been on hold for a few years, the plans for a few big towers to rise at First and Mission, a.k.a. the 50 First Street site, have been reworked and resubmitted to Planning.

As currently envisioned, the existing office/retail buildings at 50 First, 62 First, and 76-78 First would be razed to make room for a 850-foot tall, 59-story tower fronting First Street as well as a 605-foot tall, 56-story tower fronting Mission Street.

The 850-foot First Street Tower One would contain 1,220,000 square feet of office space over ground-floor retail, as was previously proposed, with a garage for up to 187 cars.

50%20first%20tower%20one%202103.gif

Plans for the 605-foot tower fronting Mission now call for 500 residential units over ground floor retail and a five level subterranean parking garage with 136 parking spaces. Earlier plans to include hotel and entertainment components in the tower have been dropped.

50%20first%20tower%20two%202013.gif

Plans for a third tower on the corner of First and Mission have also been dropped and the existing building at 88 First Street would be rehabilitated as part of the 50 First project.

50%20first%20Site%202013.gif

Noting that because of its height, "the proposed [850-foot] Tower One would stand out as a major landmark on the skyline," and as such, "the design should exceed conventional standards and should be a stellar piece of contemporary architecture comparable to the best tall buildings worldwide," the Planning Department has offered a few suggestions for the tower's design, the images of which above are simply placeholders at this point:

Consider design options that sculpt the building to create a unique feature on the skyline. The top of Tower One should feature a dynamic and interesting top that presents an interesting profile. To the extent that shadow considerations, based on further analysis, might prevent major additional decorative rooftop elements from rising above a height of 850 feet, the Department expects a reduction of sufficient occupied space at the top of the building below 850 feet to allow for a satisfying sculpted building top within the 850-foot height envelope.

As part of the project, Jessie Street would be rerouted and the portion of Tower One that spans the existing Jessie Street route would be converted into a three-story public galleria (Jessie Street Galleria); Elim Alley would be converted to a two-story galleria with lobby and retail uses (Elim Alley Galleria); and a public plaza would sit at the base of Tower Two.

A Trio Of Renzo Piano SOM Towers At 50 First Street As Proposed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

May 23, 2013

Mission Dolores Park Makeover Schedule Switcheroo

With the $13 million makeover of Mission Dolores Park slated to kickoff this October, the proposed timing for the two phases of the project has been flipped.

Dolores%20Park%20Phase%201%20revised.gif

The first phase of the proposed makeover would now close the north half of Dolores Park from October 2013 to March 2014. The second phase of the project would now close the south half of the park for eight months, beginning March 2014 and finishing October 2014.

Dolores%20Park%20Phase%202%20revised.gif

The construction of the new restroom in the north corner of the park would span the two phases while construction of the proposed pPod pissior would occur in phase 2.

The Grand Dolores Park Makeover Plan, Timing, And "pPod" Pissoir [SocketSite]
Proposed Dolores Park pPod: A Pissoir To Manage Public Urination [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

May 20, 2013

Planning For The Upzoning Of SF's Central Corridor, And Then Some

725%20Harrison%20Street%20Site.jpg

First proposed in 2005, the plan to demolish all the buildings along the south side of Harrison Street between the surface parking lot at 725 Harrison and west to the corner of Fourth Street have been quietly dusted off and revised.

While the original plan called for 572 residential units over retail in six buildings up to 85 feet in height, the new plan proposes to build a sixteen-story, 240-foot office building at the corner of Harrison and Fourth Streets with the remainder of the site covered by a six-story, 95-foot tall office building connected to the high-rise building at the ground floor.

Harrison%20and%20Fourth.jpg

Currently zoned for up to 85-feet in height, while the Planning Department's proposed Central Corridor Plan would upzone the 725 Harrison Street site to a maximum of 160-feet, and only for a portion of the parcel, apparently "the Department is evaluating a 240-foot height limit" for the corner.

The revised project also includes the construction of a two-level subterranean parking garage with up to 575 parking spaces and 113 bicycle spaces for tenants.

The final Central Corridor Plan is anticipated to be up for approval in late 2014.

Are The Big Plans For San Francisco's Central Corridor Big Enough? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

The Designs And Dollars For San Francisco's Mexican Museum

If Millennium Partner's proposed 550-foot tower at 706 Mission Street is approved for development, the "core-and-shell" for San Francisco’s Mexican Museum will be built at the tower's base (click images to enlarge) with entrances to the museum from Jessie Square:

The 52,000 square foot museum space, stretching from Jessie Square across two floors of the adjacent Aronson Building and worth $18 to $22 million, would effectively be gifted to the City along with a $5 million operating endowment to The Mexican Museum.

As Jessie Square which fronts the Contemporary Jewish Museum appears today:

Jessie%20Square.jpg

A Big Week And New Renderings For A Big SoMa Tower To Rise [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

A Big Week And New Renderings For A Big SoMa Tower To Rise

706%20mission%202013%20Rendering%202.jpg

With the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Millennium’s proposed 550-foot tower to rise at 706 Mission Street certified two months ago, this week San Francisco’s Planning Commission will hold a special session in which the 47-story tower with up to 215 condos over a four floor Mexican Museum is expected to be approved to be built upon the site:

Amongst the items on the Commission’s agenda, reclassifying the project site (click image above to enlarge) from a 400-foot to a 520-foot Height and Bulk District and agreeing that the building’s shadows would not be adverse to the neighborhood or Union Square.

706%20Mission%202013%20Rendering%20With%20Aronson.jpg

The adjacent Aronson Building would be rehabilitated and attached to the tower. Parking for the development would be below-grade within the existing Jessie Square Garage with a total of 470 parking spaces, of which 210 would be public and 260 private.

550-Foot Museum And Condo Tower Prepares For A Critical Vote [SocketSite]
The 706 Mission Scoop: Design, Details And Timing For Museum Tower [SocketSite]
The Case For A Shorter (Or Perhaps Taller) Tower At 706 Mission? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

May 16, 2013

Apple's Plan For A Flagship Store On Union Square

300 Post Street

With Levi’s moving its flagship store to Market Street this summer, Apple has submitted plans to San Francisco’s Planning Department with designs to takeover Levi’s Union Square location at 300 Post Street and remodel the space into an iconic Apple store which would be 45 percent larger than Apple’s current space a few blocks away at Stockton and Ellis.

Apple%20Store%20Union%20Square.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

Castro Street Makeover Plan Revealed And Rendered

Castro Street Makeover: Today And Tomorrow

As plugged-in people knew to expect, the Planning Department’s Castro Street Makeover plan does indeed include a reconfiguring of the crosswalk at Castro and Market Streets to align it with Jane Warner Plaza, bulb-outs on the corners of Castro and 18th Streets, and a mini-plaza in front of the historic Harvey Milk Residence and Castro Camera Shop site.

The detailed final plan and design for Castro Street (click image above to enlarge) also includes additional intersection safety measures between Market and 19th Streets, new street trees, landscaping, and lighting; and the widening of sidewalks up to 24.5 feet:

Castro%20Street%20Makeover%20-%20Mid-block.jpg

Special features to be installed include a Rainbow Honor Walk and leaning posts.

Castro%20Street%20Makeover%20-%20Special%20Features.gif

And yes, sidewalk sparkles and colored crosswalk markings will be included as well if competitive bids come in low enough to accommodate.

Once again, the Castro Street Makeover project is slated to start construction in January 2014 and last ten months, finishing before the holiday season.

Castro Street Design Plan | Streetscape Design [sf-planning.org]
Castro Street Makeover: Expected Features And Formal Unveiling [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

A Nautical Nod To Dogpatch's Past, Present, And Future

Tubbs%20Cordage%20Mill%20Coil.jpg

Before San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood was expanded by filling the marshes at the edge of the Bay, the corner of Third and 23rd was a waterfront location upon which the Tubbs Cordage Mill sat, manufacturing nautical ropes and the "life-saving net" for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Tubbs%20Life-Saving%20Golden%20Gate%20Bridge%20Net.jpg

And in a nod to the site's history, the designs for the 1201 Tennessee project include a rope based sculpture and educational nautical knot tying station along the development's proposed mid-block passage between Third and Tennessee:

Dogpatch Development Scoop: The Designs For 1201 Tennessee [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

May 15, 2013

Revised Designs For CPMC's Cathedral Hill And St. Luke's Hosptials

CPMC Cathedral Hill Rendering

As we first reported in March, the revised Development Agreement for CPMC's proposed Cathedral Hill Campus reduced the height of the Cathedral Hill hospital by two stories within the tower and one story within the podium, decreasing the total proposed building height from 15 floors and 265 feet (above) to 12 floors and 226 feet (below):

CPMC%20Cathedral%20Hill%20Campus%20Rendered%202013.jpg

At the same time, the height of the proposed St. Luke’s hospital with an adjacent Medical Office Building has been increased to seven stories, an increase from 99 to 142 feet:

CPMC%20St%20Lukes%20Rendered%202013.jpg

CPMC%20St%20Lukes%20MOB%20Rendered%202013.jpg

Rebuild CPMC Renderings: 2013 [rebuildcpmc.org]
Compromise Reached For CPMC's Cathedral Hill Campus To Rise [SocketSite]
The Revised Designs And Heights For CPMC's New Hospitals To Rise [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

May 14, 2013

Planning For A CVS: The Designs For 2280 Market Street

Market and Noe Center (Image Source: MapJack.com)

While San Francisco’s Planning Commission shot down Starbucks proposal to renovate and occupy the retail space at 2201 Market Street, in part based on the Planning Department’s concerns with respect to the concentration of formula retail in the area, this week the Commission is expected to approve the application for CVS to renovate and occupy a long vacant retail space at 2280 Market Street, roughly 400 feet away from 2201 Market.

As proposed, four of the Market and Noe Center's protruding concrete bays will be removed and CVS's section of 2280 Market Street's concrete façade will be over-clad with cement-board siding, a metal lattice, and metal trim (click the design to enlarge).

The metal lattice will mark the entrance and screen the existing parking deck and new elevator penthouse on the roof which would reopen with the CVS. The second floor of the building would be renovated as well but remain availble for another retail or office use.

2280%20Market%20Rendering.jpg

While noting that there are two pharmacies in the Upper Market Street districts "providing a similar mix of retail goods" within a half-mile of the proposed CVS, the Planning Department recommends approval of the project as it "would provide an additional choice of pharmacy and basic everyday needs goods for neighborhood residents, resulting in prices that are more competitive and a greater availability of goods and services."

Keep in mind that as part of their argument against Starbucks’ proposal, the Planning Department noted, "The Upper Market NCT is [already] well served by existing similar eating and drinking establishments that are considered coffee houses, including Church Street Café, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Sweet Inspiration and Café Flore."

Assuming approvals and quickly issued permits, CVS hopes to renovate and open the store at 2280 Market Street by February 2014 with Radio Shack, and Radio Shack's section of building facade, remaining in place.

Having sat mostly vacant since Tower Records vacated the space over six years ago, Trader Joe's withdrew their application to open at the Market and Noe Center back in 2011 due to concerns over parking.

Starbucks' Market Street Plan Shot Down By Planning [SocketSite]
The Designs For 2201 Market Street And Great Starbucks Divide [SocketSite]
Trader Joe's Withdraws Application For Castro Store [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (38) | (email story)

Endorsing The Giants $1.5 Billion Mission Rock Development Deal

Mission%20Rock%20Massing.gif

On the agenda for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this afternoon, the endorsement of the financial terms and fiscal feasibility for the Giants proposed development of San Francisco’s Seawall 337, also known as the Giants Parking Lot A, or "Mission Rock."

Once the Term Sheet is endorsed, the Giants can commence the formal Planning process (entitlements, environmental impacts, design approval) for the four phase development, with the team now slated to commence construction in 2016, finishing the final phase of development by 2022 assuming the market doesn't dip.

As proposed, the $1.5 billion project will be financed by $200 million in Port funds (bonds, taxes and development rights) and $1.3 billion in private investment. And in terms of the return, the proposed development is expected to yield annual tax and fee revenues to the City of $21,496,000 in addition to a one-time collection of $60,170,000.

While the Port currently receives just under $5 million in rental revenue for the Giants Parking Lot A and Pier 48 parcels, the Port would receive between $1.4 and $1.7 billion in revenue from the Mission Rock development over the 75-year term of the lease.

Mission Rock Term Sheet And Fiscal Feasibility Report [sfbos.org]
Giants Moving Forward With Massive "Mission Rock" Development [SocketSite]
Mission Rock: The Four Phases, Timing, And Sea Rise Clause [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

May 13, 2013

Castro Street Makeover: Expected Features And Formal Unveiling

Castro%20Street%20Makeover%20-%20Market%20Street%20Corner.gif

Slated to start construction in January 2014 and last ten months, the final design concept for the Planning Department’s Castro Street Makeover project will be unveiled at a community open house tomorrow from 7 to 9 pm at 2278 Market Street.

The makeover includes the widening of sidewalks; addition of street trees, landscaping, and lighting; and improved intersection safety between Market and 19th Streets.

Based on vetted design concepts and community input, expect the final plan to include the reconfiguring of the crosswalk at Castro and Market Street so that it is aligned with Jane Warner Plaza and bulb-outs on the corners of Castro and 18th Streets.

Castro%20Street%20Makeover%20-%2018th%20Street%20Corners.gif

A mid-block bulb-out and mini-plaza in front of the historic Harvey Milk Residence and Castro Camera Shop site is also expected to make the final design cut:

Castro%20Street%20Makeover%20-%20mini%20plaza.jpg

The Castro Street Design Project And Public Workshop [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

May 9, 2013

Starbucks' Market Street Plan Shot Down By Planning

2201%20Market%20Street%20Design%20x.gif

Following the Planning Department's recommendation and reasoning, San Francisco’s Planning Commission has voted 5 to 1 against Starbucks' proposal to take over the retail space at 2201 Market Street at the corner of Sanchez in the Castro.

The Designs For 2201 Market Street And Great Starbucks Divide [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (64) | (email story)

Polk Street Tower Up For Approval And The Story Behind The Design

101%20Polk%20Street%20Rendering%20Corner.jpg

While San Francisco's Planning Department is recommending the Planning Commission disapprove Starbucks' plans to take over the retail space at 2201 Market Street, the Department recommends the Commission approve the plans for 101 Polk Street to rise.

101%20Polk%20Street%20Rendering%20Corner%202.jpg

As proposed, the Emerald Fund will dig up the 58 space parking lot at 101 Polk Street and construct a 13-story residential tower on the site with 162 rental units over a subterranean garage with space for 51 cars and 62 bikes at the corner of Polk and Hayes.

101%20Polk%20Street%20site.jpg

The building was designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates to riff off San Francisco’s City Hall and the adjacent Public Health Building:

While the project would be taller than most buildings in the adjacent historic district at 13 stories in height, the project is not anticipated to overwhelm adjacent district contributors, which are monumental in scale and physically substantial in appearance and design.
The proposed project design will have a textured façade utilizing a combination of glazed and solid materials along with recesses, change of materials, and projecting features to appropriately reference the characteristics of the adjacent district (click image to enlarge).

Materials at the base of the project will have a weighted, rusticated treatment to reference similar treatments in the adjacent district.
The base will be capped with a slightly projecting belt course at roughly the same height of a similar feature on the adjacent Public Health Building. This feature breaks-up the mass of the building with a horizontal feature and references the tripartite organization of buildings in the district.

Assuming approvals and a 2014 start, the building would be ready for occupancy in 2016.

Towering Polk Street Plans: 13 Stories And 162 New Rental Units [SocketSite]
The Designs For 2201 Market Street And Great Starbucks Divide [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

May 8, 2013

Red’s Would Survive The Warriors Move, But Their Patio Would Not

As we reported earlier this week, the revised plans for the Warriors Arena upon Pier 30-32 calls for moving Red’s Java House from its existing location to the south side of the Pier.

And while the building and business would survive, as the renderings and a reader report, Red's private patio and beer garden would not, replaced by public seating as proposed.

Warriors%20Stadium%20Rendering%202013%20Red%27s%20Rear.jpg

Redesigned Warriors Arena Unveiled: A Peek Inside And Out [SocketSite]
Have No Fear, Red’s To Remain In Place For The America’s Cup [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

May 7, 2013

The Towers To Rise Across From The Warriors Arena

With all eyes on the new designs for the proposed arena to be built upon San Francisco's Pier 30-32, we turn our attention to the proposed towers and mid-rise to be built across the street on Seawall Lot (SWL) 330 as part of the Warriors overall development plan.

While the Warriors' preliminary designs for the development of SWL 330 called for two towers rising up to 150 feet from a solid base of retail, their new design calls for two 100-foot hotel buildings on the northern part of the lot and a 175-foot residential tower to the south with a low-rise commercial building, garage and pedestrian walkway between:

The Conceptual Details And Design Discussion For Seawall 330 [SocketSite]
Redesigned Warriors Arena Unveiled: A Peek Inside And Out [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

TIC Owners, Occupiers, Buyers, Agents And Attorneys Take Note

With Supervisor Wiener dissenting against the amended legislation which he originally co-sponsored, San Francisco's full Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the proposed condominium conversion lottery bypass this afternoon.

The legislation would establish a bypass period during which qualifying TICs could condo convert for a fee; establish lifetime leases for tenants in converting non-owner occupied units; restrict future condominium lotteries to buildings with no more than four units; and suspend San Francisco’s annual condominium conversion lottery until at least 2024.

Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of applicant owners of record for no less than five years as of April 15, 2013 would immediately qualify for the bypass. Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of applicant owners of record for no less than three years as of April 15, 2014 would qualify on that date.

Buildings which did not qualify or participate in either the 2012 or 2013 lotteries would eventually be eligible to participate in the bypass assuming a formal TIC agreement was in place as of April 15, 2013 and the required number of applicant owners have continuously occupied the building for at least six years by April 15, 2018.

In other words, TIC buildings in which the owner applicants weren't in place by April 15, 2012 would never qualify for the bypass and five or six unit TIC buildings which don't qualify for the bypass would never qualify for conversion as proposed.

And yes, the proposed legislation still contains the provision that if any lawsuit is filed against the legislation (see previous paragraph), the bypass would be suspended and the annual lottery resumed until a final judgment is issued in favor of the City.

Amended Condominium Conversion Impact Fee Legislation [sfbos.org]
Condo Lottery Bypass Legislation: Key Dates, Details, And Legalities [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

Hidden Behind Two Garages And An LLC On Liberty Hill

3660%2021st%20Street.jpg

Quietly purchased "off the market" for $3,000,000 last year, Feldman Architecture has been engaged to redesign, expand and renovate the 1,420 square foot Liberty Hill home hidden behind the two single-car garages at 3660 21st Street:

3660%2021st%20Street%20Aerial.jpg

Per the permits which have yet to be approved, the estimated cost for the project is $1,100,000 which is likely less than the total budget and includes combining the two garages into one for two cars.

The required variances and CEQA exemption to avoid a lengthy environmental review, but not necessarily a neighbor's appeal, have yet to be approved for the project as well.

UPDATE: While Mark Zuckerberg's name has been dropped in connection to the 3660 21st Street property, and the only listed officer of the 3660 21st Street LLC (the buyer of record) is the same as for the 1456 Edgewood Drive LLC (the buyer of record for Zuckerberg's property down in Palo Alto), Feldman Architecture has "definitively confirm[ed] that the client at 3660 21st St. is not Mark Zuckerberg."

We'll note that the listed officer for the 3660 21st Street LLC is also the listed officer for the 830 Cdm LLC, the buyer of record for Jack Dorsey's property at 830 El Camino Del Mar, and 110 Freelon Holdings LLC, the buyer of record for another San Francisco property which has been conected to another early Facebook man.

Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And Waste [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

May 6, 2013

Redesigned Warriors Arena Unveiled: A Peek Inside And Out

The Warriors have unveiled their revised designs for the proposed San Francisco arena at Pier 30-32, pushed back from the water to accommodate a deep-water berth to the east.

Transparent glass panels and a public walkway around the building would not only provide a peek into the arena but frame the Bay Bridge from inside (click images to enlarge):

The retail component along the Embarcadero has been reduced in size and the public plaza enlarged. And yes, Red’s Java House has been moved to the south side of the Pier.

The Warriors previous design and site plan for the pier: Piers 30-32 Arena Design 1.0.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (85) | (email story)

May 3, 2013

Appealing Plans Or Certain To Be Appealed?

1785%2015th%20Street%20Building.jpg

Purchased for $600,000 in 2005, the 765 square foot building at 1785 15th Street between Guerrero and Albion was foreclosed upon in 2011 and resold for $430,000 that November.

Luckily for the buyers, the San Francisco's Planning Department has determined that the shed behind the building which was demolished last year was not a historical resource.

1785%2015th%20Street%20Shed.jpg

Having determined that the building itself isn’t a historical resource either, a finding that could, of course, be appealed under the California Environmental Quality Act, the buyers plan to raze the building and build a 52-foot-tall, 5-story building in its place:

1785%2015th%20Street%20Design.gif

The first floor of the eight-unit building would be finished in stone with the rest of the facade in stucco and Hardie-plank siding with aluminum windows and painted wood bays and window trim. No parking is proposed.

The estimated cost of the project is $2.2 million and the project sponsor hopes to begin construction in January 2014. Any opposition to the project has until May 21 to appeal the Planning Department's determination and attempt to force a full environmental report.

Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And Waste [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

May 2, 2013

Rincon Hill Scoop: Plans For 184 Condos Versus The Factory Club

525 Harrison Street Site

With the construction of 45 Lansing underway across the street, the owner of 525 Harrison Street which currently houses the Factory club is quietly navigating Planning’s waters with plans to raze the building and build a 16-story residential tower in its place.

The early plans call for 184 units over a four-story basement garage "for up to 280 vehicles," at least 96 more parking spaces than San Francisco's Planning Code allows. A 2,520 square foot ground-floor commercial space along Harrison Street would either be used for retail or a leasing office if the building were to go the rental route.

As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

45 Lansing Ready To Start Rising 39 Stories On Rincon Hill [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

May 1, 2013

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum And Two Others Make The Presidio's Cut

Presidio Commissary Site

From the 16 proposals for reusing the former Commissary and current Sports Basement building at Crissy Field as a cultural facility, three finalists have been selected.

In addition to George Lucas' proposed Cultural Arts Museum, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy's proposal for The Presidio Exchange and the Chora Group/WRNS proposal for the Bridge/Sustainability Institute made the Presidio Trust's cut.

The finalists will present to the public on June 17 with the winning concept expected to be announced later this year or early in 2014.

Sixteen Proposals For Presidio Site Including A Lucas Arts Museum [SocketSite]
George Lucas' Cultural Arts Museum Proposal And Personal Thoughts [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

April 30, 2013

Will Bikes Lanes Be A Casualty Of A Head-On Collision Over Polk?

Polk Street Improvement Option 1

Having run head-on into a wall of seemingly unexpected opposition, the SFMTA has been forced to revisit their options for San Francisco’s Polk Street Improvement Project.

Opposing the Agency’s plan to remove up to 170 street parking spaces along Polk Street to make way for dedicated bike lanes, the Save Polk Street Coalition is pushing for a plan which would create corner bulb-outs to shorten crossing times, slow traffic by changing signals, and add "sharrows" to the roadway but wouldn't result in any dedicated bikeway.

Polk%20Street%20Improvement%20Option%20A.gif

Roughly five percent of existing metered parking spaces would be removed in order to install red zones near intersections to improve driver visibility and pedestrian safety.

The second of two SFMTA sponsored "open houses" to discuss and debate the proposed plans for Polk Street will held this evening from 5pm to 8:30pm at 1300 Polk Street.

Polk Street Improvement Project [sfmta.com]
Polk Street Showdown: Bike Lanes Versus Parking & Local Opposition [SocketSite]
Polk Street Showdown: Directing The SFMTA To Revisit Their Plans [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (362) | (email story)

April 29, 2013

Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act Aims To Clear The Way For The Warriors

501 Beale (www.SocketSite.com)

Pier 30-32 was granted to the City and County of San Francisco by the state in trust "for purposes of commerce, navigation, and fisheries, and subject to specified terms and conditions relating to the operation of the Port of San Francisco."

While the use of Pier 30-32 for a cruise ship terminal was authorized and written into law, the terminal was built upon Pier 27 instead. And as it stands, an arena upon Pier 30-32 is not a legally authorized use.

Introduced by Assembly Member Phil Ting, Assembly Bill 1273 (a.k.a. the Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act) will be considered by the Assembly Local Government Committee in Sacramento on Wednesday.

As proposed, AB 1273 would revise the existing authorization to develop Pier 30-32 for use as a cruise ship terminal and authorize the Port Commission to approve the development of Pier 30-32 as a multipurpose venue (i.e., the proposed Warriors Arena) instead.

From the Assembly's early analysis of the bill:

The bill asserts that the [proposed Warriors Arena] is consistent with the common law public trust. The challenge with this assertion is that the common law Public Trust Doctrine, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, places limitations on the Legislature’s authority to use trust lands for non-trust purposes.
A basketball arena, which is a major feature of the project, is not a traditional public trust use—it does not involve water related commerce, navigation, or fishing. However, there are examples of non-trust uses on public trust lands that have been deemed legitimate by the courts because they are incidental to and accommodate other trust uses.
Additionally, the courts have recognized that the public trust doctrine is flexible to address changing public needs related to public trust lands.

Opponents fear the bill is simply a means by which to bypass the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. As always, we'll keep you posted (up) and plugged-in.

The Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act: AB-1273 [ca.gov]
The Design For The Warriors San Francisco Arena On Piers 30-32 [SocketSite]
Pier 27 Terminal Rendered And Ready For Fiscal Feasibility Vote [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (50) | (email story)

Dolores Park Plan Appeal: It's Going To The Dogs (And Commission)

Earlier this month, the proposed plan for renovating Mission Dolores Park was appealed, challenging the environmental impacts of the proposed project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The seven issues the appellant raises which all boil down to the dogs with a reference to the childhood obesity pandemic for good measure or scare:

1. The number of existing and proposed dog play areas at the Park
2. Loss of open space
3. Hazards
4. Aesthetics
5. Hydrology and Water Quality
6. Traffic and Noise
7. Parking

The Planning Department's response to each point:

RESPONSE TO CONCERN 1 ("off-leash dog play areas were hotly debated during the community outreach meetings and are by no means acceptable to many families with school-aged children who are using this park"):

The appellant asserts that the existing Park only includes one off-leash dog play area and, therefore, the project description in the PMND is inaccurate. The appellant bases this assertion on a Recreation and Park website that was provided to the Planning Department in prior communications between the two parties. The appellant is incorrect.
Under the proposed project, the existing two off-leash dog play areas would be reduced in size by roughly 4,000 square feet to an estimated 96,250 square feet.

RESPONSE TO CONCERN 2 (an increase in off-leash dog play areas at the Park would result in a loss of open space desperately needed "for children to run and play in order to stem [our] childhood obesity pandemic"):

As described in detail in Response 1 above, the proposed project would not increase the number or size of off-leash dog play areas at the Park, but rather would slightly reduce the size of the existing off-leash dog play areas.
The 0.8 acre reduction of "open space" described and analyzed…is attributable to loss in pervious surfaces such as turf or grass due to the addition of pathways and the reconfiguration of the athletic courts, among other changes and not due to the proposed project’s modifications to the off-leash dog play areas.
Moreover, the proposed change of 0.8 acres from pervious to impervious surfaces in the 16.1 acre public park is not a reduction in public open space. The entire Park would still be considered public open space.

RESPONSE TO CONCERN 3 (the increase in off-leash dog play areas at the Park would result in a significant hazard to the public and environment):

The appellant asserts that increasing the number of off-leash dog play areas at the Park would result in significant safety and health risk hazards through an increase in the number of dogs at the Park. As discussed in Response 1 above, the proposed project would not increase the number or size of off-leash dog play areas at the Park.

RESPONSE TO CONCERN 4 (the increase in off-leash dog play areas at the Park, "with their modern trappings of plastic bag holders," would result in a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista through substantial physical deterioration of the park):

The appellant asserts that increasing the number of off-leash dog play areas at the Park and associated other items (e.g., trash receptacles, bag dispensers, and drinking fountains) would result in a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista through an increase in the number of dogs at the Park and associated other items. As discussed in Response 1 above, the proposed project would not increase the number or size of off-leash dog play areas at the Park.
The proposed project’s visible items associated with the off-leash dog play areas (e.g., trash receptacles, bag dispensers, and drinking fountains) would not be substantially tall or large enough to block views of prominent structures and features outside of the Park or noticeable enough to substantially change the foreground of the existing scenic vistas. Moreover, the appellant brings forth no substantial evidence that the proposed project would result in additional dogs at the Park, resulting in a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista.

RESPONSE TO CONCERN 5 (the increase in off-leash dog play areas at the Park would violate water quality standards and pet waste discharge requirements):

The appellant asserts that increasing the number of off-leash dog play areas at the Park would result in a violation of water quality standards through an increase in the number of dogs at the Park. It is unclear what the appellant means by pet waste discharge requirements. As described in Response 1 above, the proposed project would not increase the number or size of off-leash dog play areas at the Park.

RESPONSE TO CONCERN 6 (The increase in off-leash dog play areas at the Park would create an increase in noise and traffic "as many more non-neighborhood professional dog walkers and dog owners are attracted as opposed to families within walking distance"):

The appellant asserts that increasing the number of off-leash dog play areas at the Park would result in an increase of noise and traffic through an increase in the number of non-neighborhood professional dog walkers and dog owners visiting the Park. As discussed in Response 1 above, the proposed project would not increase the number or size of off-leash dog play areas at the Park.

RESPONSE TO CONCERN 7 (the increase in off-leash dog play areas at the Park would result in inadequate parking capacity):

The appellant asserts that increasing the number of off-leash dog play areas at the Park would result in inadequate parking capacity through an increase in the number of professional dog walkers and dog owners that would make a vehicle trip to the Park. As discussed in Response 1 above, the proposed project would not increase the number or size of off-leash dog play areas at the Park.

On Thursday, San Francisco’s Planning Commission will hear the appeal and decided whether to allow the makeover of Mission Dolores Park to move forward as proposed or require additional environmental study.

The Grand Dolores Park Makeover Plan, Timing, And "pPod" Pissoir [SocketSite]
Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And Waste [SocketSite]
Appeal of Mission Dolores Park Rehabilitation and Improvement Project [sfplanning.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

April 26, 2013

Are The Big Plans For San Francisco's Central Corridor Big Enough?

Central%20Corridor%20Graphic.gif

With a pressing need to support the City's projected job growth and continued economic development, San Francisco's Planning Department has spent the past two years developing the growth plan and strategy for San Francisco's Central Corridor, "a high-demand area with excellent regional transit accessibility, adjacency to existing job centers, diverse urban amenities and connectivity to San Francisco’s well-educated workforce."

Central%20Corridor%20Area%202013.gif

As it stands, the 260 South of Market (SoMa) acres bounded by Market, Sixth, Second, and Townsend Streets, and bisected by the Central Subway project, are already zoned to support the building of 8,225 new residential units and office space for 19,140 workers.

By removing land use restrictions to emphasize office uses in the central portion of the Plan Area, selectively increasing height limits on certain sites (primarily south of Harrison Street), and modifying the system of area streets and circulation to meet the needs of a dense transit-oriented district, the proposed Central Corridor plan will add the potential for another 3,490 housing units and office space for 27,820 jobs to be built within the area.

It’s a great start, but with San Francisco projected to add 190,000 new jobs by 2040, filled in part by a projected 150,000 new residents by 2035, and for which 92,000 housing units will need to be built, are the plans for San Francisco's Central Corridor with excellent regional transit accessibility adjacent to existing job centers and urban amenities big enough?

Aiming to maintain "the predominant character of SoMa as a mid-rise district," reducing the presence of high-rises by actively "limiting their distribution to transit stations," and limiting heights "in areas with a high concentration of historic buildings and unique character," the Draft Plan identifies two height options for the Plan Area:

In general, Option A would increase heights along Fourth, Harrison, and Bryant streets from 65 feet to 85 feet. Option A would also allow for towers between 130 and 320 feet on certain sites, mostly located south of Harrison Street, increasing height limits on those sites by 45 to 235 feet.
Option B would be similar to Option A, except that Option B would increase tower height limits for certain sites south of Harrison Street to between 115 and 400 feet, increasing height limits on those sites by about 60 to 315 feet.

The rendered view of downtown San Francisco from Dolores Park under existing conditions and as it would be under the Central Corridor plan as proposed, click to enlarge:

Conceding Planning’s principal that area heights "should be sculpted mindful of views through and across the Area from surrounding areas with views of the Bay, East Bay Hills, and other key features," might there be a bit more room to grow?

Central Corridor Draft Plan [sf-planning.org]
Planning For A Projected 190,000 New Jobs In San Francisco By 2040 [SocketSite]
If San Francisco Grows By 150,000 People, Where Will Everyone Live? [SocketSite]
The Big Plans For This East SoMa Block, Bigger Than Planned In Fact [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (52) | (email story)

Alexandria Theater Redevelopment Approved As Proposed

The plans for the redevelopment of the Alexandria Theatre at 5400 Geary Boulevard and construction of a "Spanish/Mediterranean" styled mixed-use building with 37 condos upon the theater's adjacent parking on 18th Avenue have been approved as proposed.

Dilapidated Alexandria Theater Redevelopment Take Two [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | (email story)

April 24, 2013

Forget The Flying Furniture, How About Pianos Hanging Overhead?

55%209th%20Street%20Art%20Rendering%20-%20Caruso%27s%20Dream.jpg

While Defenestration’s flying furniture days are numbered, a canopy of thirteen steel and glass piano sculptures has been commissioned to hang from the façade of 55 9th Street.

Designed by Brian Goggin with Dorka Keehn and entitled "Caruso's Dream," the permanent installation will extend up to nine feet over the sidewalk as proposed.

55%209th%20Street%20Art%20-%20Caruso%27s%20Dream%20Dimensions.gif

Per Section 136 of San Francisco's Planning Code, certain categories of building features are permitted to extend over the public right-of-way, but artworks are not. Today, San Francisco’s Planning Department will decide whether to approve the requested variances required for the canopy to be installed on the facade of the building that's on the way:

55%209th%20Street%20Rendering.jpg

Defenestration's Days Are Numbered [SocketSite]
17 Stories And 273 Rental Units Ready To Rise At 55 9th Street [SocketSite]
Hugo Hotel's Flying Furniture Update, No Word On The Graffiti [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

April 23, 2013

Mission Rock: The Four Phases, Timing, And Sea Rise Clause

Mission%20Rock%20Phases%202013.gif

With a total projected construction budget of $1.5 billion, the Giants' massive Mission Rock development is proposed to be built in four phases. Construction on the first phase with buildings up to 320 feet in height is currently slated to commence in 2016:

Phase 1 of the Mission Rock development includes parcels A, B, and C along Third Street and a 2,297 space parking garage at the corner of Third and Mission Rock Streets (parcel D). Assuming a 2016 start, Phase 1 would be ready for occupancy in 2018.

Construction of Phase 2 which includes parcels G and K and the five-acre China Basin Park is currently slated to commence in 2017 and would be completed in 2019. Construction of Phase 3 which includes parcels E and F and Mission Rock Square would commence in 2018 and be completed in 2020.

The final phase of the Giants' Mission Rock development includes parcels H, I and J is slated to commence construction in 2019 with delivery by 2022. The redevelopment of Pier 48 upon which Anchor Brewing is planning to build another brewery is also currently scheduled for the final phase of the Mission Rock project but could be accelerated. Anchor has already announced their intentions to begin construction by the end of 2014.

Speaking of Pier 48, according to the term sheet for development: "In light of the current projections of sea level rise, the maximum initial term [for Pier 48's lease] would be 30 years." An option to extend to 66 years will be included but will only be able to be exercised after the City and the Port have established policies and procedures to address the sea level rise.

Giants Moving Forward With Massive "Mission Rock" Development [SocketSite]
The Proposed Park, Plaza, And Mission Rock Square [SocketSite]
The Two Towers And Building Heights For Mission Rock As Proposed [SocketSite]
San Francisco Giants Sign Anchor Brewing To Mission Rock Team [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

April 22, 2013

Dilapidated Alexandria Theater Redevelopment Take Two

Alexandria Theater at 5400 Geary (Image Source: MapJack.com)

The proposed renovation of the Alexandria Theatre and construction of a mixed-use building on the theater’s adjacent parking lot is up for approval this week with a design that has been changed from "modern/contemporary" to "Spanish/Mediterranean."

Renovations to the Alexandria Theatre include its conversion from a three-screen theatre to a 221-seat single-screen theatre, the creation of new retail spaces on the ground floor, and a 7,000 square foot restaurant space on the second floor (click renderings to enlarge).

Upon the adjacent parking lot, a four-story building with retail on the ground floor, 37 condos on the upper three floors and underground parking for 122 cars will rise:

The new building's unit mix includes 13 one-bedrooms, 18 two-bedrooms, and 6 three-bedrooms, with four of the 37 condos to be sold below market rate (BMR).

Shuttered in 2004, by 2010 the theater at 5400 Geary Boulevard had become "a haven for homeless" with a crumbling façade, a boarded-up box office and a once-vibrant entrance riddled with flies and the stench of urine.

As part of the project, the theater’s marquee, blade, and art deco bode sign will be restored along with the terrazzo flooring at the entry and marble clad ticket booth.

The Planning Department recommends the Planning Commission approve the project.

Now Showing At The Shuttered Alexandria Theater: Blight [SocketSite]
Alexandria Theater Plans A Few Weeks From First Public Screening [SocketSite]
A Marque Makeover To Mitigate Alexandria Theater Adverse Effects [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (59) | (email story)

Condo Lottery Bypass Legislation: Key Dates, Details, And Legalities

Having been amended by Supervisors Chiu and Yee, the rather contentious and somewhat confusing condominium lottery bypass legislation is back in front of San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee for discussion this afternoon.

The proposed legislation would establish a six-year bypass period during which qualifying TICs could convert for a fee; establish lifetime leases for tenants in converting non-owner occupied units; restrict future condominium lotteries to buildings with no more than four units; and suspend the annual condominium conversion lottery until at least 2024, possibly longer depending upon the number of units converted during the bypass and the number of affordable rental housing units built in San Francisco over the next decade.

The link to the full language of the amended legislation with key dates and details: Condominium Conversion Impact Fee Legislation.

As noted by a couple of plugged-in readers last week, the proposed legislation contains a provision that if any lawsuit is filed against the legislation, the bypass would be suspended and the annual lottery resumed until a final judgment is issued in favor of the City.

A total of 2,269 units across 700 TIC buildings entered the lottery in 2013. And if you're rushing to try and beat the legislation, note that if you didn't have an established TIC and the required number of owner occupiers in place by April 15, 2013, it's likely too late.

Amended Condominium Conversion Impact Fee Legislation [sfbos.org]
A Contentious Condo Conversion Lottery Bypass Twist And Turn [SocketSite]
The Devilish Details For Bypassing SF's Condo Conversion Lottery [SocketSite]
San Francisco's Condominium Conversion Lottery Results 2013 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

April 17, 2013

The Need And Numbers For San Francisco's Ferry Terminal Expansion

San Francisco Ferry Terminal

While enhancing the economic viability and use of San Francisco’s Ferry Terminal and its surroundings is a key objective of the proposed Ferry Terminal Expansion, the driving force behind the project is the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA).

By expanding the number of ferry gates and improving pedestrian circulation and boarding, the Ferry Terminal expansion project will enhance WETA’s emergency response capabilities to evacuate people from San Francisco in the event of a major catastrophic event, such as the Loma Prieta earthquake which disabled the Bay Bridge in 1989.

With seven new routes and ferry service from downtown San Francisco to Berkeley, Richmond, Treasure Island, Hercules, Martinez, Antioch and Redwood City planed to be introduced between 2014 and 2030, the ferry terminal will serve a projected 32,000 riders per weekday by 2035, up from around 10,000 passengers across six ferry routes today.

The current estimated cost for the expansion plan as proposed is roughly $93 million with the full build-out of the proposed improvements "contingent on potential ridership demand at full build-out of the proposed Treasure Island redevelopment."

With no plans to incorporate a landing for water taxis at the Terminal as part of the expansion, Pier 1½ in the upper right corner of the photo above would continue to serve as the downtown stop for water taxi and shuttle services on the Bay.

The Plans To Expand San Francisco's Ferry Terminal And Service [SocketSite]
Downtown Ferry Terminal Expansion [sfport.com]
$1.7B Treasure Island/Hunters Point Development Deal Falls Apart [SocketSite]
San Francisco Water Taxi/Shuttle Services Set For October Launch [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

A Contentious Condo Conversion Lottery Bypass Twist And Turn

The proposed and rather contentious condominium conversion lottery bypass for a fee legislation took an interesting twist and turn on Monday with Supervisors Chiu and Yee amending the legislation with the backing of the San Francisco Tenants Union which had previously opposed the bypass.

As amended, the proposed legislation which was originally introduced by Supervisors Farrell and Wiener would establish a six-year bypass program during which the roughly 2,500 TICs that participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery, and buildings which have not participated in the lottery but already have owner occupancy requirements in place, will be able to condo convert for a fee.

The existing conversion lottery for units that don't qualify for the bypass would be suspended for at least 10 years and future conversions for buildings with five or six units would be eliminated by way of the lottery.

Our edited version of Plan C San Francisco's overview of the amendment's key points:

The amended legislation creates a 6-year lottery bypass program. During the program, the annual condo conversion lottery will be suspended and will continue to be suspended for at least 10 years. Lifetime leases would be provided for existing tenants of units bypassing the lottery.
All buildings that participated in the 2012 or 2013 lottery and remain eligible will be able to bypass the lottery. Buildings that have participated and lost in 5 or more lotteries will bypass in the first year of the program, paying a bypass fee of $4,000 per unit. All other buildings that participated in the 2012 or 2013 lotteries and continue to remain eligible will be able to bypass in the second year of the program, paying a bypass fee that is reduced by 20% for each year the building participated in a previous lottery (first-time participants in the lottery pay $20k per unit, two-time participants $16k, three-time participants $12k, etc.).
In years 3-6 of the program, buildings that did not participate in the 2012 or 2013 lotteries but meet existing owner occupancy requirements (1 owner in a 3-4 unit building, 3 owners in a 5-6 unit building) will be able to condo convert upon six years of owner occupancy.
As mentioned above, the suspension of the lottery will be for at least 10 years. The maximum will be calculated at the end of the 6-year bypass program, dividing 200 into the number of units that availed themselves to the bypass. If 2400 units convert, then the suspension will be 12 years.
There is also a provision that would lessen the maximum suspension of the lottery if additional affordable housing is built in excess of what is currently projected.

As proposed, once the lottery resumes in ten or so years, it will no longer allow 5 or 6 unit buildings to condo convert. In addition, owner occupancy requirements for future lottery based conversions would be increased to require two owner occupants for a 3-unit building and three owner occupants for a 4-unit building.

A Clash Over Condo Conversions At City Hall [SocketSite]
The Devilish Details For Bypassing SF's Condo Conversion Lottery [SocketSite]
Condo bypass amendments – 4/15 Update [plancsf.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

April 16, 2013

The Plans To Expand San Francisco's Ferry Terminal And Service

Ferry%20Terminal%20Aerial.jpg

Conceptual plans to expand San Francisco’s Ferry Terminal have been drawn, the project’s potential environmental impacts are being reviewed, and Sinbad's days are numbered.

Ferry%20Terminal%20Planning%20Area.jpg

As proposed and rendered below, the expansion includes three new berthing facilities, new covered passenger queuing areas, and a new public Embarcadero Plaza located between the Ferry Building and Agriculture Building, infilling the existing lagoon.

Ferry%20Terminal%20Embarcadero%20Plaza.jpg

The detailed Ferry Terminal Expansion plan, timing and new ferry services (think Berkeley, Richmond and Treasure Island) are as follows, click the plan to enlarge:

The San Francisco Ferry Terminal Expansion plan includes:

1. The construction of three new ferry terminal berthing facilities (Gate A in the North Basin, and Gate F and Gate G in the South Basin);

2. The removal of Pier ½ and Pier 2 to accommodate the construction of the new ferry terminal berthing facilities;

3. The construction of three, new, photovoltaic canopies (located in front of Gate A, Gate B, and perpendicular to Gates E, F, and G); and

4. The construction of the new Embarcadero Plaza, which would infill an existing lagoon with a new deck and piles and create a new open space between the Ferry Building and Agriculture Building.

In terms of timing and new ferry services, the project will likely be constructed in two phases with the North Basin improvements slated to start in 2014 to support new Berkeley and Richmond ferry services scheduled for 2015/2016.

The South Basin improvements would be phase two, timed to coincide with the start of the Treasure Island ferry service which is scheduled to commence in 2016/2017.

And yes, in additon to the parkling pad upon pier ½ and the lagoon to the south of the Ferry Building, Sinbad's which sits upon San Francisco's Pier 2 would be history.

Ferry%20Terminal%20Demolition.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

April 12, 2013

Lennar To Move Forward On Two Percent Of Their Hunters Point Plan

Hunters Point Phase 0.1

While Lennar’s $1.7 billion loan from the China Development Bank for the development of San Francisco’s Treasure Island and Hunters Point Shipyard has fallen through, Lennar plans to break ground on 88 residential units at Hunters Point this summer.

“We are continuing to move forward with development of Hunters Point Shipyard and are expecting to start home construction this summer. At the same time, lenders continue to have significant interest in financing the Shipyard and Treasure Island, which they believe are extremely attractive projects.”

In addition to the 88 units this summer, Lennar plans to begin construction on another 159 residential units this fall according to the San Francisco Business Times.

The approved redevelopment plan for Hunters Point includes 10,500 residential units along with 3.5 million square feet of retail, office, and research & development uses and over 300 acres of park and recreation areas.

$1.7B Treasure Island/Hunters Point Development Deal Falls Apart [SocketSite]
Lennar: Work at Hunters Point Shipyard to start this summer [bizjournals.com]
The Grand Plan And Aesthetics For Candlestick/Hunters Point [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

April 9, 2013

See Supervisor Kim Introduce Competing CEQA Legislation

With a hearing for Supervisor Wiener's proposed California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform legislation having been delayed by at least another two weeks, Supervisor Kim is set to formally introduce her competing legislation to the Board this afternoon.

The major points of contention between the two proposed pieces of legislation: the process for notifying the public about a project; the timeline for appealing a project’s clearance to move forward; and exemptions from environmental review.

With Supervisors Chiu, Kim and Wiener comprising the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee, and a majority vote neeed for either of the competing pieces of legislation to be heard by the full Board, Supervisor Chiu wields the key swing vote.

Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And Waste [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

April 8, 2013

Neighbors Turn To Environmental Concerns To Keep The Haus Down

Haus Martin: 611 Buena Vista Ave (Image Source: CCS Architecture)

Citing concerns of architectural incompatibility, unacceptable building heights, and the loss of privacy, the neighbors' bids to block a third story addition atop the Cass Calder Smith designed modern Haus Martin at 611 Buena Vista Avenue by way of Discretionary Review (DR) were denied by San Francisco’s Planning Commission. The Commission did, however, impose a three-foot setback for the third story in order for the project to proceed.

While the plans for 611 Buena Vista were redrawn and the setback incorporated to allow greater visibility of the corner turret of the adjacent building at 601 Buena Vista Avenue, the opposing neighbors have turned to California's Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in another attempt to block the approved project, now citing their environmental concerns.

611%20Buena%20Vista%20Plan.gif

Having reviewed the plans, San Francisco’s Planning Department has found that the 611 Buena Vista project would "not have a significant impact on the environment and is exempt from further environmental review," an exemption which would not be available for the project under Supervisor Kim’s CEQA legislation as proposed.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hear the arguments tomorrow and either affirm or reverse Planning's exemption for the project to proceed without further review, delay, and expense.

Haus Martin And Cass Calder Smith Architecture [SocketSite]
Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And Waste [SocketSite]
The Circle Of Life On Buena Vista Avenue Continues [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

Polk Street Showdown: Directing The SFMTA To Revisit Their Plans

With the Polk Street "bikes versus business" Showdown in full swing, last week SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin called for the Agency to revisit their proposed plan to remove an estimated 170 street parking spaces along Polk Street to make way for dedicated bike lanes and parklets stretching from McAllister to Union Street.

In his report to the SFMTA's Board of Directors on Tuesday, Reiskin noted the "loud and consistent message from the community expressing concerns" for their proposed Polk Street Improvement Project plan, directing the Agency to bring back additional proposals for different configurations that have less parking loss along Polk Street for consideration.

The next public meeting for the Polk Street Improvement Project, the last of which was a rather raucous and one-sided affair, is currently scheduled for April 27.

Polk Street Showdown: Bike Lanes Versus Parking & Local Opposition [SocketSite]
Polk Street Improvement Project: Overview Slides [sfmta.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (77) | (email story)

April 5, 2013

Competing India Basin Shoreline Plan: A 15-Acre Adventure Park

India%20Basin%20Shoreline%20Aerial.jpg

As we first reported earlier this week, the 15 acre parcel of San Francisco Bay front property which is in foreclosure and scheduled to hit courthouse steps this month sits at the center of the former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s plan for a major mixed-use development and new India Basin Shoreline neighborhood.

But there is a competing vision for the site: a 15-acre San Francisco Adventure Park (click on the proposed park design to enlarge):

With funding from the EPA, the San Francisco Parks Alliance has spent the past two years conceptualizing an open space alternative for the site as a part of San Francisco’s Blue Greenway Program, calling for the transformation of the southeastern waterfront into a world-class series of parks and trails woven through industry and new development.

With an aquatic dog park, mountain biking, bouldering, bonfire pits, boat launches, an exercise circuit, serpentine grasslands, skating, and parkour facilities amongst other planned features, the proposed adventure park would diversify the recreation options for San Francisco citizens, relieve pressure on our natural areas and open spaces, and host larger scale activities that cannot occur or are damaging to other San Francisco Parks.

Once again, the site of the proposed Adventure Park, or mixed-use neighborhood, is currently scheduled to hit the courthouse steps in two weeks. And as always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

San Francisco's Great Blue Greenway Vision And Interconnected Plans [SocketSite]
15 Acres Of San Francisco Bay Front Property Up For Grabs [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

April 3, 2013

15 Acres Of San Francisco Bay Front Property Up For Grabs

700%20Innes%20Avenue%20Parcel.jpg

Possibly the largest privately held undeveloped land site fronting the San Francisco Bay, the 15-acre India Basin Shoreline parcel outlined in red above and known as 700 Innes Avenue is slated to hit the courthouse steps in San Francisco tomorrow having failed to sell under the supervision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court with over $26 million owed.

India%20Basin%20Shoreline%20Aerial.jpg

Located on the eastern edge of Bayview Hunters Point at the base of Hunters Point Hill, plans to redevelop the India Basin Shoreline have been in the works for well over a decade with a concept plan for the area first published back in 2002:

India%20Basin%20Shoreline%20Center.jpg

While much of the area is currently zoned for industrial uses, Planning’s vision for the area includes mixed-use development along Innes Avenue with half the 700 Innes Avenue parcel at the center of the new neighborhood with recreational uses and residences over retail and the other half of the parcel a mixed-use village with residential, office and retail.

India%20Basin%20Shoreline%20Mixed%20Use.jpg

As currently drafted to be rezoned, up to 800 new homes could be built on the 700 Innes Avenue parcel in addition to retail, office, arts, light industrial and recreation space.

India Basin Shoreline Vision And Framework [sf-planning.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

April 2, 2013

Towering Polk Street Plans: 13 Stories And 162 New Rental Units

101%20Polk%20Street%20site.jpg

As plans to remove 170 parking spaces from Upper Polk Street stir emotions and debate, the Emerald Fund is moving forward with plans to dig up the 58 space off-street parking lot at 101 Polk Street and construct a 13-story residential tower on the site.

101%20Polk%20Street%20Rendering%20Corner.jpg

The proposed tower to rise 120 feet on northwest corner of Polk and Hayes would yield 162 rental units (25 studios, 99 one-bedrooms and 38 two-bedrooms) over a subterranean garage with space for 52 cars and 62 bikes as proposed.

101%20Polk%20Street%20Rendering.jpg

Trees would be planted along the Polk, Lech Walesa Alley, and Hayes Street frontages:

101%20Polk%20Street%20Rendering%20Hayes.jpg

Assuming approvals and exceptions for parking (0.31 spaces per unit proposed versus the 0.25 permitted), rear yard requirements (substituting a second floor outdoor court for the required rear yard), and wind comfort level exceedances (over a maximum of 11 miles per hour) as proposed, development of the project is slated to commence next spring.

And assuming a spring 2014 start, the building would be ready for occupancy in 2016.

Polk Street Showdown: Bike Lanes Versus Parking & Local Opposition [SocketSite] 

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (77) | (email story)

Polk Street Showdown: Bike Lanes Versus Parking & Local Opposition

Fearing the removal of an estimated 170 street parking spaces along Polk Street to make way for dedicated bike lanes and parklets stretching from McAllister to Union Street, local business owners and residents have upped their opposition to the SFMTA’s proposed Polk Street Improvement Project which is "primarily be focused on people who walk, use transit and ride a bicycle along Polk Street" and is slated to start construction in 2015.

Business owners along Polk Street fear the loss of parking will negatively impact their sales while local residents without off-street parking (perhaps in-part due to City policy restricting the development of off-street spaces) fear increased competition for parking on the street.

The last public meeting to review the Polk Street Improvement Project was a rather raucous affair with the vast majority of attendees loudly opposing the SFMTA’s plan which seems to have taken the Agency and supporters by surprise.

The next public meeting for the project is scheduled for April 27 starting at 10 am at 1300 Polk Street and should be even more raucous as the San Francisco Bicycle Collation is encouraging supporters of the project to attend and counter the voices of the opposition.

Polk Street Improvement Project: Overview Slides [sfmta.com]
A Call For New Parklets And Chance To Praise (Or Dish) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (287) | (email story)

Unintended Consequences: A Squat Five Stories Down In SoMa

259%20Clara%20Street.jpg

Zoned for mixed use residential development up to 45-feet in height, the one-story SoMa building at 259 Clara Street which was built in 1956 and most recently served as a photography studio sold for $1,500,000 four months ago.

A quickly drafted plan to develop the site is quietly testing the waters of Planning with a proposal to demolish the existing building and squeeze a 12,724 square-foot residential building with five stories, eight residential units, and nine parking spaces in its place.

Noting "the intent of the 45-foot height limit is to allow higher floor to ceiling heights for the ground floor uses of a four-story building," the Planning Department’s early reaction to the proposed five-story design is that "the ground floor appears too low and squat."

Per the current Planning Code which allows for 0.25 off-street parking spaces per dwelling unit within the District, up to one off-street parking space for each dwelling unit with at least 2 bedrooms and 1,000 square feet, the proposed nine spaces for eight units would be at least one too many. And yes, the adjacent lot line windows are at risk.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

March 29, 2013

Disapproved For Development In 2010, Another Plan Is Pitched

1450 15th Street

Permits to demolish the one-story warehouse on the northwest corner of 15th and Shotwell and construct a four story building with ten apartments on the site were disapproved in 2010, at which point the development plans for the parcel were cancelled.

Purchased for $1,450,000 this past October, a new plan has been quietly pitched to Planning with a proposal to demolish the building at 1450 15th Street and construct a 5-story, 50-foot tall building with 23 dwelling units and parking for 17 cars and 12 bikes.

From the Planning Department's assessment of the property back in 2004 having identified it as a potential historic resource for the neighborhood:

This Industrial building is a representative of a general warehouse-industrial style, and dates from the reconstruction period of development (May 1906-1913). Industrial buildings are used for manufacture or distribution of products. Industrial buildings include canneries, warehouses, public stables, automotive repair and maintenance structures, and machine shops. It is a standard in its context but is not important because its context lacks cultural or architectural significance.
There is no evidence that the history of this property is associated with any persons or events of recognized significance in National, California, or San Francisco’s history, nor is the architect, designer, or builder identified in association with its construction...This property is not the work of a master, but is typical of modest structures of similar vintage in the Mission in its design and construction method. It does not possess high artistic values, is not distinctive, nor does it belong to distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction...This property was not fully assessed for its potential to yield information important in prehistory or history...For these reasons, this property is found ineligible for National, or California Registers or Local designation through survey evaluation.
The building appears to be in good structural and material condition. This property retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.
Character defining features that should be preserved: none.

As always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

March 27, 2013

Plans To Double The Square Footage By Way Of A Two Foot Rise

105%20Hoffman%20Facade%20Existing.jpg

Speaking of variances and plans to raise the roof, the buyer of the 1,170 square foot two-bedroom house at 105 Hoffman over is seeking permission to raise the Noe Valley property two feet and build an all-new first floor with garage underneath.

105%20Hoffman%20Raised%20Facade.gif

In addition to the garage for one car, the expansion would add two new bedrooms, a new bathroom, and a laundry room to the house. Click on the proposed plans to enlarge and see how it's all proposed to be done:

The project would also reconfigure the existing kitchen and rooms on the main floor.

No word on the fate of the vintage O’Keefe & Merritt stove.

105%20Hoffman%20Kitchen.jpg

Already extending 10 feet into the required 34 foot rear yard, the proposed height increase and first floor expansion will require a variance to proceed, a variance which was slated to be decided upon today. The property was purchased for $880,000 last year.

Trying To Raise The Roof And Make Room For A Restaurant To Rise [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

Trying To Raise The Roof And Make Room For A Restaurant To Rise

3249%2017th%20Street.jpg

Purchased for $600,000 in 2003 with three bedrooms spread across two units and one story at the corner of Capp and 17th Streets, the plan is to add three floors with three units above the building at 3249 17th Street and convert the first floor into a restaurant, a new home for the Latin American Balompie Café (click the designs to enlarge).

As proposed, an eight foot extension of the building's footprint will result in a rear yard that's 25 feet deep. The problem, as per Section 134 of the Planning Code, the property is required to maintain a rear yard of 33 feet:

This morning, San Francisco's Zoning Administrator will decide whether or not to grant the developer a variance to allow the building to extend and rise as proposed, or to delay a decision to a later date as has been requested.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

March 25, 2013

Expectations For Superior Architecture Adjacent To A Simple Store

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With the minimalist Muji having moved in next door and a Trader Joe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Nordstrom Rack across the street (at least for now), the vacant lot at 520 9th Street which is currently used for parking was sold in January for $795,000.

According to a plugged-in tipster, the buyer’s preliminary plans for the off-ramp adjacent lot include a four-story residential building with twelve (12) two-bedroom condos over nine parking spaces and ground floor bike storage but no ground floor retail.

And while the building’s proposed design has yet to be finalized, the Planning Department "expect[s] that the architecture and quality of execution will be superior." No word on what color the Department is expecting the building to be as well.

Market Street Place Ready To Demo And Courting Nordstrom Rack [SocketSite]
Letting Go Of A Nostalgic Notion And Mixing It Up In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

March 21, 2013

Letting Go Of A Nostalgic Notion And Mixing It Up In San Francisco

344%20Fulton%20Rendering%20Fulton.jpg

Designed to be built with a black tile façade, the Planning Department requested the architects change the color scheme of the proposed building to rise at the corner of Fulton and Gough in order to win the Department's support and recommendation.

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Having gone ahead and presented both designs to the Planning Commission, architect David Baker reports on the outcome:

The San Francisco Planning Commission agreed with us on the darker corner and overruled the Planning Department. It should be clear that most of the building will be a light color: just this corner is darker, a variegated gloss glazed clay tile. The sunshades are anodized perforated aluminum. The gloss finish on the curve will produce a dynamic shifting highlight.
The notion that San Francisco is a city of white buildings is nostalgic, and might have been true at some time in the past. The actual condition is quite diverse with great variation in tonal value. Personally I like things mixed up a bit.

We couldn't agree more. In fact, we wouldn’t mind seeing the mixing of even more styles and truly modern design(s) throughout San Francisco.

344%20Fulton%20Rendering%20Gough.jpg

Black And White In Hayes Valley And In The Ayes Of Planning [SocketSite]
A New Hayes Valley Home For The Boys & Girls (And Adults) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (23) | (email story)

Plans For Two Big Towers On Pine Have Been Revived And Rendered

1634-1690%20Pine%20Site.jpg

As the northeast corner of Pine and Franklin Streets currently appears above, and as it would look with the two 13-story towers which are proposed to rise with 262 condos over two stories of commercial and 245 parking spaces below:

1634-1690%20Pine%20Site%20Rendered.jpg

Originally proposed for development with plans for 282 condos in a seven-story building stretching from 1634 to 1690 Pine Street from which a 25-story and 12-story tower would rise, those plans were cancelled in 2007 having raised concerns among area residents.

"People don’t want more residential. That’s what it comes down to," a San Francisco Planner was quoted as saying about the concerns at the time.

1634-1690%20Pine%20Rendering.jpg

The full scoop with respect to the existing site and design for what is now being proposed:

Currently, the site is occupied by five vacant one- to two-story buildings (two, two-story unreinforced masonry buildings; two, one-story unreinforced masonry buildings; and a one-story concrete building) and a parking lot. Past uses of the buildings include a car rental office and distribution center, furniture showroom, and a warehouse. The parking lot, located on the northeast corner of Pine and Franklin Streets, is 7,563 sf in size, contains no structures, and provides approximately 22 parking spaces.
Four of the structures (1650, 1656, 1660, and 1670-1680 Pine Street) have been recognized as having contextual architectural significance to their neighborhood. In addition, three of the buildings on the project site (1650, 1660, and 1670-1680 Pine Street) were designed by the firm Heiman & Schwartz. Many of the firm’s surviving works are local landmarks, either eligible for the National Register or contributory to a historic district. Finally, the buildings on the project site represent a dwindling number of early ancillary automobile-oriented structures, such as storage and repair garages, tire shops, and showrooms.
The proposed project would merge the six lots into one parcel, demolish most of the existing five buildings on the project site, and construct one building with two, 13-story residential towers with commercial use on the ground and second floors. The existing building facades of three of the buildings would be restored and incorporated into the proposed project (click image to enlarge).

The project would have a total area of 353,360 gross square feet (gsf) and would include approximately 262 new for-sale residential units totaling approximately 221,760 sf; 5,600 sf of commercial space, and 34,600 sf of subterranean parking with 245 parking spaces on one level. No off-street loading spaces are proposed. The proposed towers would be approximately 130 feet tall.

As proposed, the condos would range in size from 530 to 1,600 square feet with a unit mix of 24 studios, 120 one-bedrooms, and 118 two-bedroom units. The subterranean parking level would provide 240 spaces with mechanical stackers and five spaces accessible to persons with disabilities. The basement level would include parking spaces for 91 bicycles.

While the project’s proposed uses and heights are allowed by right in the District, the project will require the Planning Commission’s approval and authorization with the density, parking, and bulk as proposed. As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Who Are These “People” And What The Heck Are They Thinking? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

March 20, 2013

Parking Lot And Development Alert: The Designs For 345 Brannan

345%20Brannan%20Site.jpg

Currently a 94-space parking lot down near the ballpark, plans to build a five-story building with roughly 100,000 square feet office space over either 7,000 square feet for ground-floor retail/restaurant use or additional commercial space at 345 Brannan Street have received a Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration from Planning.

A 4,000 square foot roof deck for tenants would be constructed atop the 65-foot-tall building, an underground garage for 26 cars would be built below.

345%20Brannan%20Rendering.jpg

The project would remove the two existing curb cuts on Brannan (the building's garage entrance would be located on Stanford Street) and include the planting of four new trees along its Brannan Street frontage:

345 Brannan Facade

Assuming approvals from the Planning Commission, and no extended delays or appeals, construction on the proposed 275-foot deep building is currently scheduled to start this summer and last for ten to twelve months. Click the image below to enlarge.

Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And Waste [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

CEQA In Action, Or Inaction, On Potrero Avenue

480 Potrero Site (www.SocketSite.com)

Speaking of CEQA and the appeals process in action, the Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration which would have allowed the development of 480 Potrero Avenue to move forward was appealed late last year by the San Francisco Verdi Club, MUNA neighborhood association, and Potrero Hill neighbors.

The objections of the appellants include concerns that the project will "have an adverse effect on a scenic vista," will "substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings," and will "induce substantial population growth…and be out of character with the neighborhood."

480 Potrero Rendering

While the Planning Department recommends that the Planning Commission uphold the Negative Declaration and allow the six-story development with 84 condos and 38 parking spaces to move forward, a Commission vote has been continued until at least the middle of May which will be over seven months since the Declaration was issued.

The four-story live/work building that once stood on the northwest corner of Potrero and Mariposa was demolished in 2005 and the lot at 480 Potrero has sat undeveloped since.

Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And The NIMBYs [SocketSite]
Designs For 84 Condos At The Corner Of Potrero And Mariposa [SocketSite]
480 Potrero Avenue: Designs for 84 Condos, But No Commercial Space [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

March 19, 2013

Supervisor Showdown: Wiener Versus Kim, CEQA, And Waste

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a State statue established in 1970 which requires local public agencies to provide analysis and disclosure of possible environmental impacts prior to the approval of building permits.

Exemptions from analysis can be granted for minor projects, saving much time and money, but those exemptions can be appealed as can any findings of no environmental impact (a "negative declaration"), an appeal process which is ill-defined and costly, a favorite tool of both concerned citizens and NIMBYs alike.

Having spent months writing and re-writing proposed legislation to establish a set 20 day windows for filing appeals and clarifying the process, Supervisor Wiener’s proposed legislation was approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission and seemed ready for a Board of Supervisors vote. And then Supervisor Kim introduced a competing bill.

Directly from Supervisor Wiener’s office:

On March 12, Supervisor Jane Kim introduced separate, alternative CEQA legislation. The legislation was not drafted by the City Attorney nor approved as to form by the City Attorney. The Planning Department did not participate in the legislation, did not provide feedback on it, and was not aware of the legislation before it was introduced.
While Supervisor Wiener welcomes any of his colleagues to participate in this important process, unfortunately, Supervisor Kim’s legislation is exactly the opposite of Supervisor Wiener’s legislation. Instead of creating a clearer and more predictable process, it will make the CEQA process even worse than it is today: longer, more expensive, more cumbersome, more bureaucratic, and less predictable.

A few examples from Wiener's Office with respect to the "negative changes" that would result if Supervisor Kim’s legislation is adopted:

Every project on every building 50 years or older – nearly 3/4 of San Francisco’s building stock – would no longer be eligible for a CEQA Categorical Exemption stamp (often issued over the counter in a matter of hours) for a minor change, such as changing a window, replacing a rotted out handrail, or replacing a failing roof. Instead, any and all such projects will be required to get a “Categorical Exemption Certificate,” which is a detailed report that can take 3-6 months to issue and currently costs $5,000, as opposed to several hundred dollars for a Categorical Exemption stamp.
This change would effectively mean that over the counter permits would no longer be an option for buildings 50 years or older, more than 3/4 of buildings in San Francisco.
Similarly, all projects in parks and “open space,” which is a very broad term, would require the same 3-6 month and $5,000 certificate instead of the current Categorical Exemption stamp. This would dramatically increase the time and cost associated with even small park and open space projects, like rehabilitating playground structures, adding benches, and planting trees on road medians.

In addition, under Kim's bill every negative declaration for a park, open space, or building greater than 50 years old would be required to be considered by both the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission. Currently, negative declarations are only considered by the Planning Commission and only if an appeal is filed.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

March 18, 2013

Yesterday’s Dolores Park Pissing Match And Future Toilet Scores

Dolores%20Park%20South%20Restroom%20Rendering.jpg

With a total of four (4) existing toilets in the dated Dolores Park Clubhouse and fewer porta-potties in place than in the past, the line to pee privately versus publicly in the park seemed to measure well over an hour this weekend.

As plugged-in people know, relief is in the works with 14 toilets for women, 5 toilets and eight urinals for men, and 4 unisex toilets planned to be constructed in the park, half of which could be online in about a year.

And of course, there’s also the one proposed pissior for males, the construction of which could very well turn into a legal pissing match of its own.

The Grand Dolores Park Makeover Plan, Timing, And "pPod" Pissoir [SocketSite]
Proposed Dolores Park pPod: A Pissoir To Manage Public Urination [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

Nearly 60,000 Rentals In SF Are Currently Vulnerable To Collapse

On the agenda for the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee this afternoon, the proposed Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program for wood-frame buildings with three or more stories and five or more dwelling units constructed prior to January 1, 1978, of which there are approximately 4,300 in San Francisco and at least 2,800 of which have been deemed "vulnerable" to seismic activity. The vulnerable buildings house nearly 60,000 people and 2,000 businesses.

Buildings constructed after January 1, 1978 in San Francisco are considered to have been designed to meet a life safety standard for a magnitude 7.9 quake on a nearby segment of the San Andreas Fault or similar, an event which has a two percent chance of occurring in any 50-year period.

As it stands, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on a nearby segment of the San Andreas Fault would likely render 1,200 to 2,400 of the 2,800 vulnerable multi-unit buildings in San Francisco uninhabitable. An estimated 300 to 850 of the buildings would likely collapse.

As proposed, the Retrofit Program would roll-out over a seven year period. Opposing the Program, a number of building owners who have deemed the program "a complete travesty and unlawful control of property owners," preferring to roll the dice with their buildings' and tenants' well-being rather than "spend $100,000 on shinny new metal" to meet the life safety standard established in the 1970's.

Proposed Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program Ordinance [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (42) | (email story)

March 13, 2013

The Plans For 1950 Page: From Kids Club To Condos In The Haight?

1950 Page

Assuming that the proposed Hayes Valley development at 344 Fulton is approved and the Boys & Girls Club makes the move, a reader wonders what’s to become of the Club’s old clubhouse over at 1950 Page Street in the Haight.

While nothing formal has been pitched nor yet proposed to Planning, the developer of 344 Fulton has been exploring options for "maximizing the property within the context of a [potential] market-rate development" at 1950 Page.

Zoned for residential development and 40 feet in height, exploratory drawings have been drafted for a four-story building with up to 59 units and parking for residents either at grade or underground.

Black And White In Hayes Valley And In The Ayes Of Planning [SocketSite]
A New Hayes Valley Home For The Boys & Girls And Adults [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

CPMC's Cathedral Hill And St. Luke’s Plan Approved By The Board

CPMC Cathedral Hill Rendering

As expected, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors have approved the revised terms for a three-story shorter than rendered above Cathedral Hill Hospital (and a two-story taller St. Luke’s) to rise in San Francisco. The Planning Commission will review the revised designs in May with a final vote and blessing by the Board expected in July.

Compromise Reached For CPMC's Cathedral Hill Campus To Rise [SocketSite]
The Revised Designs And Heights For CPMC's New Hospitals To Rise [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

March 11, 2013

2001 Market Street's Pedestrian Safety And Public Space Plans

2001 Market Street Rendering

Approved for development at the end of 2010, the mixed-use building with 82 residential units over a Whole Foods market that’s under construction at 2001 Market Street and Dolores is subject to $928,937 in Market-Octavia Area Plan Infrastructure Impact Fees.

Area Plan Impact Fees can either be paid directly to the City or developers may request to provide in-kind infrastructure improvements. The Prado Group, developer of 2001 Market Street, is now seeking approval for a proposed In-Kind Agreement to provide "streetscape, pedestrian safety, and public space improvements" along Dolores and Market Streets in return for a waiver of $510,000 of their Market-Octavia Fees.

The Prado Group's proposed improvements include:

1. Sidewalk bulb-outs (widened sidewalks) at the intersection of Market and Dolores Streets on both the southeast and southwest sides, and on the North-West corner of Dolores and 14th Streets
2. A public plaza, including seating and landscaping on the southwest corner of Dolores and Market Streets adjacent to the future Whole Foods grocery store
3. An extension of the Dolores Street median to Market Street
4. Special paving materials in the crosswalk across Dolores at Market
5. A raised crosswalk and bulb-outs on Clinton Park alley where it intersects Dolores

In the words of San Francisco's Planning Department which recommends the Planning Commission approve the agreement and plan:

The proposed improvements would help enhance pedestrian safety through calming traffic, shortening crossing distance, and increasing visibility of pedestrians crossing Dolores Street, through providing pedestrian amenities such as bulb-outs, a median extension, and reducing the number of travel lanes at the intersection of Dolores and Market Streets. Additionally, the proposed improvements would enhance the public life in this neighborhood by creating a public plaza with seating and landscaping for people to relax and mingle adjacent to the new development.
The proposed public plaza in front of the future development would introduce an urban open space to this neighborhood that would supplement traditional open spaces in the neighborhood such as Dolores Park or Duboce Park, and is consistent with other urban plazas in the Upper Market area, such as Jane Warner Plaza at Castro and Market Streets. The plaza and all other improvements proposed in this In-Kind Agreement would be publicly accessible and located on public rights-of-way.

Click the plan above to enlarge.

2001 Market Street Development (AKA Whole Foods Castro) Approved [SocketSite]
2001 Market Street: Let’s Get Ready To Rubble And Build! [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

Black And White In Hayes Valley And In The Ayes Of Planning

344%20Fulton%20Rendering%20Gough.jpg

As a plugged-in reader recalls, while the developer of the proposed Hayes Valley building to rise on the corner of Fulton and Gough prefers a black glazed brick façade, the Planning Department wasn’t feeling it and the color scheme was redesigned in an attempt to facilitate its approval and appeal to Planning's tastes:

344%20Fulton%20Rendering%20In%20White.jpg

A New Hayes Valley Home For The Boys & Girls And Adults [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (29) | (email story)

A New Hayes Valley Home For The Boys & Girls (And Adults)

344%20Fulton%20Site.gif

Another former Central Freeway parcel and current parking lot, upon the Hayes Valley site at 344 Fulton Street and Gough, a four-story building for the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco and a separate six-story building with 69 dwelling units over 1,800 square feet of ground floor retail space are proposed to rise:

344%20Fulton%20Site%20Plan.jpg

The easterly building would be a four-story building for the Boys & Girls Club containing approximately 33,500 square feet of recreational uses, including a pool, gymnasium, a game room, arts and craft space, a learning center, and other recreational and educational spaces for youth.

380%20Fulton%20Rendering.jpg

The third and fourth story of the building would house approximately 10,425 square feet of administrative office uses for the Boys & Girls Club, as well as an outdoor terrace at the fourth floor.

344%20Fulton%20Rendering%20Fulton.jpg

The westerly building would be a six-story mixed-use building containing approximately 69 dwelling units and approximately 1,800 square feet of ground-floor commercial uses, as well as other common area spaces that could be occupied by retail uses.

344%20Fulton%20Rendering%20Gough.jpg

While no off-street parking would be provided for the residential uses, six tandem parking spaces accessed via Ash Street would be provided in the westerly building for use by the new Boys & Girls Club which is intended to replace the existing Ernest Ingold Clubhouse located at 1950 Page Street in the Upper Haight with a facility "located closer to the clientele served by the organization."

UPDATE: As a plugged-in reader correctly remembers, while the project sponsor prefers the black façade as rendered above, the building was re-designed in white in order to please Planning.

344%20Fulton%20Rendering%20In%20White.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

The Revised Designs And Heights For CPMC's New Hospitals To Rise

Slated to be approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors tomorrow, the revised Development Agreement for CPMC's proposed Cathedral Hill Campus and St. Luke’s Hospital calls for a slightly shorter Cathedral Hill Campus and a two story taller St. Luke’s:

The height of the proposed Cathedral Hill Hosptial which will be built to accommodate 304 beds (30 of which won’t be built out until the new St. Luke’s is open and has hit an average weekday census of at least 90 patients) has been reduced by two stories within the tower and one story within the podium, decreasing the total proposed building height from 15 floors and 265 feet to 12 floors and 226 feet.

While underground parking for the Cathedral Hill Hospital will be reduced from 513 to 276 spaces, the number of parking spaces within the proposed Medical Office Building across the street (542) and conversion of 1375 Sutter Street (172) remain unchanged for a total of 990 parking spaces across the Cathedral Hill Campus.

With 120 beds as proposed, up from 80, the height of the proposed St. Luke’s hospital has been increased by two floors to seven, an increase from 99 to 142 feet. The number of proposed parking spaces within the Medical Office Building remains at 220 with another 215 spaces in the existing Duncan Street Garage and 15 surface spots for a total of 450 spots across the campus.

The footprints and general designs for both buildings remain the same. Click for the full terms of the revised development agreement or on the images above to enlarge.

Compromise Reached For CPMC's Cathedral Hill Campus To Rise [SocketSite]
CPMC Development Agreement And Term Sheet

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

Planning To Spend Their Surplus To Help Clear SF's Building Backlog

With a backlog 356 planning cases and 106 requested building permits awaiting review, San Francisco’s Planning Department is proposing to add ten (10) new employees to help clear the backlog over the next 2.25 years.

The positions with salaries ranging from $60,667 for a Clerk to $118,806 for a Planner would be funded by way of the Planning Department’s projected $4,300,000 surplus in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013 due to increased building permit, alteration, and environmental planning fees.

San Francisco’s Budget and Legislative Analyst recommends that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approve eight (8) of the requested positions tomorrow at a cost of $2,774,224 over the next 2.25 years.

Amendment to the Annual Salary Ordinance for Planning Department [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

March 8, 2013

550-Foot Museum And Condo Tower Prepares For A Critical Vote

706 Mission Rendering

The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to allow the proposed 550-foot tower and Mexican Museum to rise at 706 Mission Street is slated to be reviewed and potentially certified by San Francisco’s Planning Commission in two weeks.

The proposed project consists of the construction of the 47-story tower and the restoration and rehabilitation of the adjacent Aronson Building which would be attached. The existing Jessie Square Garage would provide 260 spaces for tower residents.

706 Mission Rendering 2012

The tower would contain up to 43 floors of condos and four floors for the museum. The Aronson Building would contain retail/restaurant space on the ground floor, museum space on the second and third floors, and either offices or condos on floors four through ten:

Aronson Building with 706 Mission Rendered

As plugged-in people know, the parcel is currently zoned for 400-feet and the project will require a zoning map amendment to see its full potential versus being cut short.

And in addition to the issue of new shadows on downtown public open spaces, opponents of the tower as proposed, most of whom reside and park at the adjacent Four Seasons Residences, cite increased traffic and congestion concerns.

As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

The 706 Mission Scoop: Design, Details And Timing For Museum Tower [SocketSite]
Sneak Peek: 706 Mission Tower Design And Aronson Building Rehab [SocketSite]
Planning’s Responses To Comments On 706 Mission As Proposed [sfplanning.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

March 7, 2013

George Lucas' Cultural Arts Museum Proposal And Personal Thoughts

Lucas%20Cultural%20Arts%20Museum.jpg

From George Lucas with respect to a proposed Lucas Cultural Arts Museum in the Presidio:

The Bay Area has always been home to forward-thinkers and artistic innovators - people who push to do things that haven’t been done before. Men like Eadweard Muybridge, Philo Farnsworth and Steve Jobs. Companies like Pixar, Adobe, and Facebook. There’s a history of invention here that’s as exciting as it is infectious. That’s one of the reasons why I’m here, why I raised my family here, and why I chose to start my own business here. It’s also why I chose this remarkable region for a new museum.
I want to create a gathering place where children, parents, and grandparents can experience everything from the great illustrators such as Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and Maxfeld Parrish, to comic art and children’s book illustrations along with exhibitions of fashion, cinematic arts, and digital art. The Bay Area was the birthplace of digital arts three decades ago.
The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum will be a center highlighting populist art from some of the great illustrators of the last 150 years through today’s digital art used to create animated and live-action movies, visual effects, props and sketches. They’re all united by their ability to capture our shared cultural story—from Rockwell’s pencil sketches to computer generated moving images. More than just exhibiting illustration and technological innovation, this cross-section of art can help to describe and define our culture—its past, present, and future. It provides a unique way to see what’s emotionally important to us as a society and how we communicate those feelings without words. The best way to truly understand art is to experience it.

The construction of the museum would be fully funded by Lucas and endowed with two $400 million gifts. The full proposal:

Sixteen Proposals For Presidio Site Including A Lucas Arts Museum [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

March 6, 2013

Plans For 15 New Homes And Feet On The Street (Or Pedals) In SoMa

248-252%209th%20Street%20Site.jpg

The two one-story buildings at 248-252 9th Street were constructed in 1907 and occupied by various theater and performing arts groups in the 1990's and naughts. Currently used for nothing but storage, the two Western SoMa buildings will be razed and a five-story mixed-use building would rise as proposed:

248-252%209th%20Street%20Design.gif

Plans for the new building include 15 dwelling units (8 one-bedrooms and 7 two-bedrooms) over 3,100 square feet of ground floor commercial/restaurant space and a 1,200 square foot roof deck for residents. And while the building would be built without any parking for cars, parking for 16 bicycles is planned.

Assuming approvals, construction is slated to start in the middle of this year and will last for around 12 months. A total of three trees will line the sidewalk when completed.

Western SoMa Community And Neighborhood Plan Nearing Adoption [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

Sixteen Proposals For Presidio Site Including A Lucas Arts Museum

Presidio Commissary Site

The Presidio Trust has received 16 proposals for reusing the former Commissary and current Sports Basement building at Crissy Field as a cultural facility, including one by George Lucas to create the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum on the site.

As many might recall, it was only a few years ago that Donald Fisher and his family abandoned their efforts to build a contemporary art museum at the Main Post of the Presidio having butted heads with NIMBY neighbors and preservationists.

The 15 other concepts for the Commissary site and timing:

Audio/Media tour provider: Tour center for the Presidio (Antenna International)

The Bridge/Sustainability Institute: An education institution integrating the social, economic and natural history of the Presidio. (Chora/WRNS)

Presidio Regional Center: A center for the study of Cities of the Future and a headquarters for ideas to establish a Regional/Metropolitan Form of Governance for the Bay Area’s 9 counties and 101 cities. (Jay Claiborne/Jerry Goldberg)

The Color Lab: A color museum and laboratory "where people can come to explore the great wonder and beauty that is color and what it means to them and how it enhances their everyday lives." (Color Foundation)

Global Observatory: A cultural center that looks forward, showcases outstanding solutions for creating a better world and accelerates people’s creative impulses to help. (The GO Team)

Presidio Exchange: Extending the core themes of the Presidio to regional, national and international audiences (Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy)

PlayLabs: An institution to explore the connections between play and innovation, connecting arts and humanities to sciences and history. (JCC&A)

Green Museum and Environmental Center: Museum chronicling the rise of environmental issues and causes over the last fifty years and a resource and learning center displaying the technology, techniques and trends involved in combating climate change and creating a sustainable society. (Mark Kitchell)

Altered Lands: Design, programming and education strategies to portray how humans have shaped our environment through history, art, science, and cultures as it relates to the Presidio, the San Francisco Peninsula, the GGNRA, the Bay Area, Northern California and the Pacific West. (KV & Associates)

National New Deal Museum: Focusing on the U.S. government's response to the Great Depression, the New Deal Museum would invite visitors to look to the past, reflect on the present, and provoke thinking about how we as a nation can create a more equitable society. (The Living New Deal)

The Innovation Center: A hub for thought and discussion (Mycotoo)

Michael Heyman Journeys Center: A cultural center with interactive galleries to honor former Cal chancellor Michael Heyman (Larry O'Reilly Associates)

Crissy Field Cultural Center: A proposal to reclaim the landscape back to nature and reuse the building as community centered facility with exhibits, classrooms, work space, public space, and a cafe. (Organic Architect)

History Center of the Golden Gate: A history center for visitors to discover how the West helped shape the nation. (Presidio Historical Association)

San Francisco Media Technology Center: A space to support and encourage innovators, artists, inventors and entrepreneurs (Transmedia SF)

Finalists will be announced in April with the winning concept expected to be announced later this year or early in 2014. The Trust continues to work with Sports Basement to find a permanent replacement location within the Presidio.

Presidio Parkway's Final Phase And Commissary’s Sporting Days [SocketSite]
Commissary Proposals [presidio.gov]
The Fishers Break CAMP With Respect To The Presidio's Main Post [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

March 5, 2013

Compromise Reached For CPMC's Cathedral Hill Campus To Rise

CPMC Cathedral Hill Rendering

Sometime today, California Pacific Medical Center and City Hall are expected to announce a compromise which will allow the development of a downsized Cathedral Hill campus to move forward and ensure the rebuilding of St. Luke’s over in the Mission.

With the paperwork having been filed to demolish the existing Cathedral Hill Hotel early last year but CPMC's pre-construction teams sent packing last August, the City and Sutter Health have been wrangling over the rewritten terms for CPMC's Cathedral Hill campus which was approved by Planning, but then appealed, ever since.

According to the Business Times, the expected compromise calls for CPMC's Cathedral Hill complex to be downsized from an orignally proposed 555 beds to 274 while CPMC's St. Luke’s hospital would be expanded from an existing 80 beds to 120.

UPDATE: The compromise has been confirmed with 304 beds at CPMC's Cathedral Hill campus versus the originally reported 274. The revised plan will be reviewed by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on March 12. If approved, the project will likely take until the end of the decade to complete.

A Scaled-Down Cathedral Hill Campus And Expanded St. Luke's [SocketSite]
Cathedral Hill Hotel Demolition Paperwork Filed, Poised To Fall [SocketSite]
CPMC's Pre-Construction Teams Sent Packing [SocketSite]
Mayor Lee To CPMC: Save St. Luke's Or Cathedral Hill Campus Is DOA [SocketSite]
City Hall, California Pacific to announce Cathedral Hill compromise Tuesday [bizjournals]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

Planning To Displace Porn To Erect An Office Building On Bluxome

81-85%20Bluxome.jpg

Speaking of Western SoMa, a plan to demolish the two-story industrial building at 81-85 Bluxome between 4th and 5th Streets has been quietly floated with Planning. As proposed, a 65-foot-tall office building without parking would rise on the site.

While current zoning allows for up to 65 feet in height on the parcel, as does the proposed Western SoMa Community Plan, the proposed plan's increase in density would need to be adopted in order for the building to be built as designed.

And as a reader notes, currently housed at 81 Bluxome is Hothouse entertainment, "one of the last original San Francisco adult studios left in SOMA."

Western SoMa Community And Neighborhood Plan Nearing Adoption [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

March 1, 2013

The Plan For 1601 Mariposa And 291 More Potrero Hill Homes

As we first reported in January with respect to Related’s proposal to demolish three Potrero Hill industrial structures between Mariposa and 18th Streets and construct two buildings with 291 dwelling units over 5,300 square feet of commercial space and parking for 235 cars across from Potrero's Jackson Playground and Anchor Brewing:

While we haven’t yet seen the design, the site is zoned for 40 feet and the development includes a mid-block pedestrian mews, connecting 18th and Mariposa Streets. And with 291 proposed units, which were not counted in Planning's last report, the housing pipeline for the Potrero Hill/Showplace Square area is now over 3,000 units.

A plugged-in tipster has now delivered the proposed site plan for 1601 Mariposa designed by David Baker + Partners which includes the parcel at the corner of 18th and Arkansas which we initially missed. Click the site plan above to enlarge.

Add 291 Units To Potrero Hill's Housing Pipeline [SocketSite]
The 43,580 New Units In San Francisco's Current Housing Pipeline [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

February 27, 2013

The Two Towers And Building Heights For Mission Rock As Proposed

The proposed building heights for the Giants’ massive Mission Rock development range from 90 to 380 feet with two "signature residential towers" to rise on Parcels A and F at the northern end of the site topping the range. Click the image above with the proposed block-by-block heights to enlarge.

Replacement parking for AT&T Park, events, and visitors will rise up to 100 feet in a single parking garage on Parcel D at the southern end of the site, with 2,300 parking spaces for the 27-acre development with 125,000 square feet of retail and 8 acres of parks, plaza, and square.

Giants Moving Forward With Massive "Mission Rock" Development [SocketSite]
The Proposed Park, Plaza, And Mission Rock Square [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

Plans For 120 New Condos Where Café Cocomo Stands (Or Shakes)

Cafe%20Cocomo%20-%20650%20Indiana.jpg

As we first reported a few weeks ago, Café Cocomo’s dancing days at 650 Indiana are numbered as a proposal to develop the site on which the club stands has been quietly pitched to San Francisco’s Planning Department. We now have the details for what is being proposed, including 120 residential units, a new public plaza, and the "Cocomo mews":

Zoned for development up to 58 feet in height, the proposed project would raze the existing structures between 630 and 698 Indiana and construct two 5-story buildings with 120 new residential units and 85 parking spaces; 1,417 square feet of retail; and 4,695 square feet of ground floor residential/commercial flex space along Indiana Street.

650 Indiana Site

An 8,900 square foot public plaza would be created at the corner of Indiana and 19th Streets and the two 5-story buildings would share a new mid-block alleyway dubbed the "Cocomo mews" which would provide access to the parking garage.

Café Cocomo's Dancing Days Are Numbered, Condos Coming Soon? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

February 26, 2013

Successfully Upzoned, Plans For The Castro's Fitness SF Take Shape

2301 Market now and as proposed

With the southwestern corner of Market and Noe having been successfully upzoned from 50 to 65 feet (and Café Flore's off-site kitchen protected), plans to add three stories to the building that currently houses Fitness SF at 2301 Market Street are taking shape.

First proposed in 2011, the plans call for another full-floor (9,500 square feet) for the gym, twelve new dwelling units on the top two floors, and a renovated retail space below.

According to the Castro Biscuit, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has already signed a lease for the renovated retail space but will need the Planning Commission’s approval to occupy as formula retail, the conditional use for which was actually applied for late last year.

Upzoning The Corner Of Market And Noe And Fighting Over Café Flore [SocketSite]
Should The Planning Commission Dictate Which Businesses Survive? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

Should Our Planning Commission Dictate Which Businesses Survive?

As we first reported, while San Francisco’s Planning Department backs the proposal to convert the Pacific Sales building at 975 Bryant into a Orchard Supply Hardware store, noting that the project "is desirable for, and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood," would "[improve] the pedestrian experience along Bryant Street" and "meets all applicable requirements of the Planning Code," following public testimony, San Francisco’s Planning Commission adopted a motion of Intent to Disapprove the project.

Who are the NIMBYs with which the Planning Commission is siding and for whom they intend to block the compatible project? A plugged-in reader reports:

The majority of comments were from various business owners (Cole Hardware, Builder Supply, Center Hardware, etc.) who expressed their usual concerns about how formula retail will put them out of business and change the face of San Francisco forever.
The owner of Cole Hardware claimed his business went down 25% after Lowes opened on Bayshore -- (in the middle of the recession). The owner of Center claims his Saturday business is still down 20%. Of course there's no way to check their numbers and Center has so little weekend business they don't even open on Sunday.
The best comment from a commissioner: "We're trying to save ourselves from ourselves" referring to people who say they want to support locally owned businesses but drive to Home Depot anyway.

Should it be the role of San Francisco’s Planning Commission to decide and dictate which businesses in San Francisco deserve protection from their competition and their customers as well?

Orchard Supply Hardware Coming To SoMa If Approved [SocketSite]
No Valentine’s Day Love For Orchard Supply Hardware In SF [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

February 25, 2013

The Proposed Park, Plaza, And Mission Rock Square

Mission Rock Open Space Plan

As part of the Giants’ proposed Mission Rock Development, a new park, plaza and public square at the heart of the development will be built on eight of the area’s 27-acres.

Originally constructed as part of the AT&T Park project, China Basin Park will be expanded to 5-acres with a waterfront great lawn and special event area, a waterfront café with outdoor seating, a junior baseball field, gardens and picnic areas, and a promenade connection to the new Channel Plaza between Piers 48 and 50.

Mission%20Rock%20Rendering%20-%20China%20Basin%20Park.jpg

The area between Piers 48 and 50 will be converted into a hardscaped ½-acre "Channel Plaza" with views of working vessels and other maritime uses.

And at the heart of the development, Mission Rock Square will be a 1.3-acre park with a multi-use lawn, plaza, and café pavilion framed by a mix of residential and commercial uses, including ground-floor retail with a pedestrian connection to Channel Plaza.

Mission%20Rock%20Rendering%20-%20Plaza.jpg

The park and open spaces will be owned by, and remain under the jurisdiction of, the Port but managed and programmed by the Giants subject to Port approval. Maintenance of the parks and open spaces will be funded by special taxes imposed on the development.

Plug in tomorrow Wednesday for the proposed financial terms, project phasing, and block-by-block heights for the Giants’ Mission Rock Development to rise.

Giants Moving Forward With Massive "Mission Rock" Development [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

No Valentine's Day Love For Orchard Supply Hardware In SF

As we first reported two weeks ago with respect to the proposal to convert the Pacific Sales building at 975 Bryant into a 33,000 square foot Orchard Supply Hardware store:

While it took over a decade to get a new home improvement store out on Bayshore Boulevard, with the backing of the Planning Department, Orchard Supply Hardware is hoping to get a quick approval to convert the Pacific Sales building at 975 Bryant into a 33,000 square foot OSH with a plant nursery on the roof.
Other proposed changes to the building at 975 Bryant include landscaping, a new Bryant Street entrance, and a change of windows along Bryant Street to increase transparency.

Despite's San Francisco's Planning Department noting that the proposed project "is desirable for, and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood," would "[improve] the pedestrian experience along Bryant Street" and "meets all applicable requirements of the Planning Code," following public testimony on February 14, San Francisco’s Planning Commission adopted a motion of Intent to Disapprove the project by a vote of 5 to 2 with Commissioners Fong and Antonini dissenting.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to revisit the proposed project and the NIMBYs' objections, and act on their intent, with a vote this week.

Orchard Supply Hardware Coming To SoMa If Approved [SocketSite]
T-Minus Two Days (And A Decade In The Making) For Lowe’s In SF [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

February 22, 2013

San Francisco Overlook Project Generates Some Form Letter Outrage

San Francisco Overlook Rendering

On the boards for nearly a decade, the proposed San Francisco Overlook Project would build 34 dwelling units, 12 duplexes and 10 townhouses ranging from 16 to 40 feet in height, on the northwest slope of Mount Sutro near the north end of Crestmont Drive.

San Francisco Overlook Site

Hoping to get started with demolition in early 2014 and be ready for occupancy by mid-2015, the project sponsors still need Planning’s approval with a hearing on the Project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) scheduled for March 7.

Of the 124 written comments received from the public on the EIR and to which the Planning Department has responded, 74 were submitted via a form letter provided by the Crestmont – Mt. Sutro – Forest Knolls Neighborhood Preservation Coalition which seems to oppose the development ("God forbid this move forward," "when is the earliest the trees will be destroyed?").

Dusting Off Plans For New Dwellings On The NW Slope Of Mount Sutro [SocketSite]
Responses To Comments On The Overlook Development Project [sfplanning.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

February 21, 2013

Major Outer Parkside Development Site On Sloat Now In Foreclosure

2800 Sloat Site

First approved for development in late 2008 and granted a three year extension to start construction on 56 new housing units, 23,000 square feet of commercial space, and an open-air market early last year, the Outer Parkside parcels stretching from 2800 to 2898 Sloat Boulevard have fallen into foreclosure on $4,220,000 loan.

While the parcels upon which the Aqua Surf Shop, John's Ocean Beach Café and Robert's Motel currently sit between 46th and 47th Avenues were scheduled to hit the courthouse steps last week, a bankruptcy filing has postponed the auction until at least tomorrow and most likely for many more weeks, or months, to come.

As Proposed To Start Rising At 2800 Sloat And Wawona By 2015 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

Newly Proposed Height And Horizontality On Federal Street

77-85 Federal Street

A plan to demolish the two existing office buildings at 77-85 Federal Street and construct a five-story commercial building with a gym on the ground floor and an underground garage with 29 parking spaces has been floated with San Francisco’s Planning Department.

While we haven’t seen the proposed design for the building, the Planning Department has and has offered the following architectural suggestions:

To strengthen the project’s compatibility with the surrounding [South End Historic] district, the project should accentuate a tripartite organization, including strengthening the base, and vertically modulating the façades with a rhythm of solid columns, in order to emphasize the solid-to-void ratio. This rhythm should be introduced on all levels. Overall the building façade exhibits a strong horizontality. There appears to be several different approaches to the treatment of the glass. The Planning Department suggests that the glazing system be developed to be more unified and balanced with solid columnar elements.
Additionally, the module of the building where the entrance is located could be differentiated to a highlight the entry, using glazing to indicate a greater height at the entry, and/or reducing or eliminating the balcony at the third floor.

What's/Who’s To Blame For "Bad" Building Design In SF? [SocketSite]
Damn All Those Untalented Architects To Hell! Oh, Wait A Minute… [SocketSite]
Damn That Planning Department To Hell! Oh, Wait A Minute… [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

February 19, 2013

San Francisco Giants Sign Anchor Brewing To Mission Rock Team

Anchor Brewing on Pier 48

The San Francisco Giants have signed Anchor Brewing to renovate San Francisco's Pier 48 and build new brewing, shipping, drinking, eating and educational facilites on the site, a true anchor tenant for the Giants' massive Mission Rock Development.

The new Anchor facility will feature production facilities for brewing, distilling, packaging, storing, and shipping; a restaurant, museum and educational facility in the headhouse of Pier 48; and a restored walkway around the entire pier apron that will connect pedestrians to the Portwalk and allow views into the Anchor brewhouse. Anchor will offer tours of the facilities and educational seminars with a focus on the history of craft beer, the art of craft distilling and Anchor’s history in San Francisco.

While the 27-acre Mission Rock development will likely take a decade to finish, Anchor could be up and brewing on Pier 48 by the end of 2016, quadrupling current production from 180,000 to 680,000 barrels a year.

Anchor Brewing Pier 48 Interior

Giants Moving Forward With Massive "Mission Rock" Development [SocketSite]
Anchor Brewing to Quadruple Production with New Facilities on Pier 48 [anchorbrewing]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

February 15, 2013

Mercy Me: Hugo Hotel Is Historically Significant, The Plan To Mitigate

200%206th%20Street%202013.jpg

In order for Mercy Housing to move forward with their plans to build a new nine-story residential building with 67 affordable housing units on the corner of 6th and Howard Streets, they need permission to raze the existing Hugo Hotel and Defenestration.

Situated in the middle of the newly defined "6th Street Lodginghouse Historic District," the Hugo Hotel has been deemed a contributing resource for the District and the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH) "has determined that the proposed [project] would result in an adverse effect, due to the demolition of 200 6th Street."

200 6th Street Rendering (www.SocketSite.com)

There is, however, a plan to address the adverse effect and allow Mercy to move forward:

To address the adverse effect on 200 6th Street (aka Hayston Apartment Building), MOH would execute a Programmatic Agreement with the [State Historic Preservation Officer] that would require mitigation of the adverse effects of the undertaking. These mitigation measures are designed to address the adverse effects on the historic architectural resources and include the following:
1. Historic American Building Survey (HABS) documentation consisting of a written historical report and archival photographic documentation; and,
2. An interpretive exhibit featuring the history of the site, previous buildings on the site and surrounding historical context. The purpose of the interpretive exhibit is to commemorate the significance and history of the site, the impacted historic resources and the district.

San Francisco’s Historic Planning Commission will weigh in on the proposed measures to mitigate the adverse effect of razing the Hugo Hotel next week.

Redeveloping Sixth Street: Corner Of Sixth And Howard As Envisioned [SocketSite]
The Hugo Hotel Has A Date With A Different Kind Of Bench [SocketSite]
Hugo Hotel's Flying Furniture Update, No Word On The Graffiti [SocketSite]
South of Market Resource Survey Says…Five New Historic Districts [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (39) | (email story)

February 13, 2013

Orchard Supply Hardware Coming To SoMa If Approved

While it took over a decade to get a new home improvement store out on Bayshore Boulevard, with the backing of the Planning Department, Orchard Supply Hardware is hoping to get a quick approval to convert the Pacific Sales building at 975 Bryant into a 33,000 square foot OSH with a plant nursery on the roof (click on any image to enlarge).

Other proposed changes to the building at 975 Bryant include landscaping, a new Bryant Street entrance, and a change of windows along Bryant Street to increase transparency:

And while not in the "urban core," the location is in the heart of San Francisco.

T-Minus Two Days (And A Decade In The Making) For Lowe’s In SF [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

February 12, 2013

The Designs For Mission Bay Block 40 On The Border Of Potrero Hill

Mission%20Bay%20Block%2040.jpg

The undeveloped Mission Bay Block 40 sits in the southwest corner of the Mission Bay Redevelopment Area, south of 16th Street and east of Interstate 280 on the border of Potrero Hill. And upon Block 40, a 995,000 square foot office complex composed of two "campuses" is proposed to rise (click any of the renderings to enlarge).

Each campus would feature a 5-story building connected to a 12-story, rising up to 180 feet. 680 parking spaces would be provided in two 5-story parking garages. The western facades of the buildings and open spaces facing Interstate 280 have been designed so that if Interstate 280 is razed, the area could be repurposed as public open space:

With the exception of one member, The Mission Bay Citizens Advisory Committee supports the proposed project while The Potrero Boosters have not been as enthusiastic and would like to see "less large block sites and more diversity in building types and design."

San Francisco’s Planning Department recommends that San Francisco's Planning Commission approve the designs and development this week.

A Bold Plan To Tear Down I-280 North Of 16th Street In San Francisco [SocketSite]
Mission Bay Neighborhood Block And Construction Watch [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

February 11, 2013

A Billion Dollar Proposal To Rebuild SF’s Two Busiest BART Stations

A third of BART’s daily riders exit or enter the transit system at either the Embarcadero or Montgomery Street stations. With total ridership up six percent over the past year, now averaging 393,000 riders per weekday, BART directors are considering a plan to expand and boost the capacity of the Embarcadero and Montgomery Stations, a plan which would take five years and an estimated $900 million to complete.

No update on plans to connect BART with San Francisco's future Transbay Transit Center.

BART considers rebuilding 2 SF stations [SFGate]
Scoop: Transbay Interactive Map (And New Transit Center Website) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

The Big Plans For This East SoMa Block, Bigger Than Planned In Fact

Harrison Street Development Site

Speaking of height limits in San Francisco, the current zoning for the eastern two-thirds of the SoMa block roughly bounded by Second, Harrison, Third and the Caltrans parcel under Interstate 80 currently ranges from 45 to 85 feet in height with existing buildings ranging from 12 to 48 feet.

As part of the proposed Central Corridor Plan that's in the works, with a draft plan that should soon be made public and is targeting approval in 2014, the block would be up-zoned for heights ranging from 130 to 200 feet.

The designs for the aforementioned 2 acre parcel above, however, include three new buildings ranging in height from 200 to 350 feet: a 300-room hotel with a retractable glass roof and roof-top bar; a residential tower with 400 units which would either be rented or sold depending upon the market at the time; and a 28-story office building wrapped in glass with floor to ceiling windows.

Even with the proposed up-zoning, the heights of the proposed 400 Second Street Project would exceed the height limit of the proposed designations. And as such, following the adoption of the Central Corridor Plan which the Planning Department will have spent a few years planning, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors would need to quickly approve a special Height District Reclassification in order for the Project to proceed.

The proposed project also includes 80,000 square feet of neighborhood retail and service stores, restaurants, and bars or lounges on the lower floors of the buildings.

Big Plans For Harrison Street Between Second And Third [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

February 8, 2013

Is 535 Mission Street Selling Itself And San Francisco Short?

535 Mission Street Massing

While some celebrate the news that construction on the 378 foot tower to rise at 535 Mission Street will soon recommence, others wonder if the developers aren't selling themselves and San Francisco short as the site is zoned for 550 Feet.

As massed above for SocketSite by steelblue, proposed and approved developments abound in the Transit Center District ("Mid-Market" ends at Fifth), with height limits recently raised to meet the growing demand for space and fund development of the area:

At 378 feet, 535 Mission will be dwarfed by the towers of 50 First Street on just the other side of Mission which are proposed to reach over 800 feet. Across City Park from 535 Mission, a 750 tower is now zoned to rise. And of course, the 1,070 foot Transbay Tower is just down the street at 101 First and Mission.

In the foreground above, the 700 foot tower at 181 Fremont rises amongst others.

Modern 27-Story Mission Street Tower Set For A Quick Restart [SocketSite]
More Mid-Market Development And Definition [SocketSite]
Planning’s Towering Transit Center District Plan Decision: Approved [SocketSite]
A Trio Of Renzo Piano SOM Towers At 50 First Street As Proposed [SocketSite]
Proposed 1,070-Foot Transbay Tower Approved To Rise [SocketSite]
Latest SF Skyscraper Scoop: 181 Fremont Redesigned And Rendered [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (29) | (email story)

February 7, 2013

The 5M Project's Buildings, Timing, And Public Open Space Plans

As we first reported yesterday, Forest City’s proposed 5M Project, as in Fifth and Mission, would yield over a million square feet of renovated or new office space, 750 new dwelling units, 150,000 square feet of ground floor retail, educational, and cultural uses, and 34,000 square feet of privately-owned publicly accessible open space down in SoMa with five new buildings ranging in height from 50 to 400 feet (click image above to enlarge).

A full rundown of the buildings and proposed renovations, including a two story addition to the Chronicle Building, the project timing, and an overview of the proposed open space:

Building M-1 (Chronicle Building): The interior layout of the Chronicle Building would be renovated and two partial floors would be constructed on top of the existing three-story building. Renovations to the Chronicle Building would include: 1) vertical addition of two partial floors; 2) a potential additional staircase for public access to a proposed rooftop open space area, and modifications to existing staircases to service the proposed rooftop area and meet tenant needs; 3) a potential increase in the number and location of pedestrian entrances and exits into the building on Minna and/or Mary Streets (where none currently exist); and 4) a new façade where the connection to the Examiner Building would be removed.

The renovated Chronicle Building would be a five-story, 80-foot-tall, 157,200 square foot office building. The two proposed additional floors would be set back from Mission and Fifth Streets, approximately 65 feet away from the existing clock tower at the front of the building. The rooftop area (on the top of the third floor) remaining after the addition of the two partial floors would provide up to 22,000 square feet of privately‐owned publicly accessible open space (provided to meet, in part, open space requirements for proposed residential and commercial buildings).

Building N-1: Located south of building M-1, Building N-1 would be a 28-story, 400-foot-tall building of 798,900 square feet. The ground floor would contain approximately 47,500 square feet of active ground floor retail/office/educational/cultural space. The remaining floors would contain 751,400 square feet of office uses.

The building base would be constructed to the lot lines on Natoma, Minna, and Fifth Streets and would define the street wall. Building N-1 would have varied floorplate sizes at its lower levels (1 through 4), midrise levels (5 through 10), and high-rise levels (11 through 28). The setback of the upper levels from the base street wall would be established in the Design for Development. The Camelline Building (430 Natoma Street) would be demolished to allow for the construction of Building N-1.

In addition, the existing two-story, 14,000-square-foot connector across Minna Street would be demolished and replaced with a single-story connector between Buildings M-1 and N-1. The proposed 1,600 square foot connector would be located approximately 65 feet above the existing street grade and would have dimensions of 40 feet by 40 feet (the existing connector is located approximately 16 feet above the existing street grade and has dimensions of 35 by 195 feet). The new pedestrian connector is intended to promote circulation between Buildings M-1 and N-1, including to and from the proposed rooftop open space on the renovated Building M-1.

Building H-2: Located at the southeast quadrant of Natoma and Mary Streets, Building H-2 would be an 11-story, 175-foot-tall building with 240,800 square feet. The ground floor of the building would contain 32,000 square feet of active ground floor retail/office/educational/cultural space. The remaining floors would contain 208,800 square feet of office space. The upper seven levels would be set back 30 feet from Howard Street.

N-1/H-2 Connector: The proposed N-1/H-2 Connector would be an eight‐story, 43,600 square foot connector over Natoma Street between Buildings N‐1 and H‐2, and would be located approximately 50 feet above the ground floor. The connector would have typical dimensions of 50 feet by 105 feet, spanning the 35‐foot width of Natoma Street and extending into the N‐1 parcel. The N‐1/H‐2 connector would contain office space.

Building N-3 (Dempster Printing Building): The existing four-story Dempster Printing Building located at 447 Minna Street would be rehabilitated to accommodate 12,000 square feet of office uses. Renovation would include alterations to the interior of the structure and potentially the exterior envelope (in the form of additional or modified entries). No vertical addition to the structure is proposed.

Building M-2: Located along Mission Street west of Building M-1, Building M-2 would be a 16-story, 165-foot-tall, 204,800 square foot building with 192,000 square feet of residential space above 12,800 square feet of active ground floor retail/office/educational/cultural space. The building would include approximately 260 residential units.

Building H-1: Located on the northwest quadrant of Fifth and Howard Streets, Building H-1 would be an approximately 38-story, 400-foot-tall, 373,000 square foot building with 360,800 square feet of residential space above 12,200 square feet of active ground floor retail/office/educational/cultural space. The building would include approximately 488 residential units.

Building N-2: Located to the west of Building N-1 and east of the central segment of Mary Street, Building N-2 would be an approximately three-story, 55-foot-tall, 18,200 square foot building. This building would contain multi-use arts/cultural/education uses.

Currently proposed to be constructed in two phases which could occur concurrently depending upon demand and financing, Phase 1 of the 5M project would include the following five components and is expected to take 48 months to complete, starting in 2015:

1. Demolition of three existing buildings located at 910, 912, and 924–926 Howard Street
2. Construction of Building M-2
3. Construction of Building H-2
4. Renovation of Building M-1 (Chronicle Building) and construction of two-story addition
5. Renovation and rehabilitation of Building N-3 (Dempster Printing Building).

Phase 2 of the 5M project would include the following four components and is currently slated to begin in 2018:

1. Demolition of the existing Examiner Building at 110 Fifth Street, the existing two‐story pedestrian connector between the Chronicle and Examiner Buildings, the existing Camelline Building at 430 Natoma Street, and the existing building at 190 Fifth Street
2. Construction of Building N‐1
3. Construction of Building H‐1
4. Construction of Building N‐2

In addition to the proposed 22,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space atop the renovated Chronicle Building, 9,750 square feet of open space to be known as "Mary Court" would serve as the proposed project’s central public space, created by vacating the existing Mary Street segment between Minna and Natoma Streets.

5M%20Project%20Open%20Space.gif

A portion of Building N-1 would cantilever over Mary Court which is envisioned to accommodate "events, workshops, and speaker series, hosted in part by adjacent tenants, as well as less formal interactions among residents, employees, and the public."

Chronicle Site Rendering: Minna Elevation

Forest City's 5M Project: Big Plans For 4 Acres At Fifth And Mission [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

February 6, 2013

Forest City's 5M Project: Big Plans For 4 Acres At Fifth And Mission

Forest City's proposed 5M Project spans a 4-acre site roughly bounded by Mission, Fifth, Howard and Mary Streets at the nexus of San Francisco’s South of Market Area (SOMA). The 5M project includes over a million square feet of office space, 750 new dwelling units, and 150,000 square feet of ground floor retail, educational, and cultural uses with five new buildings ranging in height from 50 to 400 feet (click images to enlarge):

As part of the project, the Chronicle Building at 901 Mission Street and the Dempster Printing Building at 447-449 Minna Street would both be rehabilitated while six other buildings on the site would be razed to make room for the new construction.

The square footage of renovated space and new construction would total 1.85 million square feet. In addition, the project would include up to 888 parking spaces for cars in three subterranean levels, around 270 spaces for bikes, and 34,000 square feet of privately-owned publicly accessible open space including 22,000 square feet atop the Chronicle building which would be accessible to the public during business hours and to tenants and residents between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Seven existing surface parking lots on the site with a total of approximately 256 parking spaces would meet their demise. And Mary Street between Mission and Minna Streets would be closed to vehicular traffic and converted to a pedestrian alleyway.

Public planning meetings for the project are slated to start in two weeks. Assuming all approvals by the end of next year, construction could commence as early as 2015 and be finished by 2026 with the project constructed in two phases (see massing above).

Testing The Waters To Develop Four Infill Acres At Fifth And Mission [SocketSite]
A Huge (Potential) Development For The Mid-Market/SoMa 'Hood [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

February 5, 2013

Plans For Six Stories And 42 New SRO Units On Folsom Street

1178 Folsom%20Street%20Site.jpg

According to a plugged-in tipster, David Baker + Partners has been quietly working on the designs for a six-story building that could be built at 1174-1178 Folsom Street with fronts on both Folsom and Clementina Streets.

The proposed project would demolish the two 25-foot buildings on the site, merge the two lots, and result in a 65-foot tall building with 42 single-room occupancy (SRO) units on floors three through six with office space on the second floor, ground level retail, and 27 parking spaces in a basement level garage.

As always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (35) | (email story)

February 4, 2013

Demolition Of Derelict North Beach Pagoda Theater Set For Approval

North Beach Pagoda Theater (Image Source: MapJack.com)

The rehabilitation and rebuilding of the gutted and long blighted North Beach Pagoda Theater was first approved in 2008, with plans to convert the theater into 18 condos over two ground floor commercial spaces and parking for 27 cars.

Seeking to quell the concerns of North Beach merchants and residents who would be disrupted by the digging up of Columbus Avenue in order to extract the tunnel boring machines for San Francisco's Central Subway project, Muni now plans to the raze the Pagoda Theater, extend the subway tunnel to the Columbus and Powell Street site, and extract all the machinery from there.

Following the extraction of the boring machines, an all new five-story building with 18 dwelling units over a single 4,700 square foot restaurant and parking for 27 cars, but no new Subway station, would be allowed to rise on the site at the same height and configuration as the previously-approved rehabilitation project, since dubbed The Palace at Washington Square:

Pagoda Theater Rendering 2010

San Francisco's Planning Commission is set to vote on approvals for the project this week.

Demolition of the existing theater is expected to take 4 months with 6 months to construct the extraction shaft and 5 months to extract the machinery and close the shaft, for a total of at least 15 months before construction on "The Palace" could begin.

Inside The “Landmark” Pagoda Theater (And Tussle) In North Beach [SocketSite]
A Plan For San Francisco's Central Subway To Stop In North Beach [SocketSite]
Pagoda Theater Preview (And Signs Of Progress All Around) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

55 Laguna Set To Take A Step Forward By Preserving The Past

Woods%20Halls%20B%2BW.jpg

The proposed rehabilitation of Woods and Richardson Halls and redevelopment of the 55 Laguna campus, including the building of 413 new housing units and a park, is set to take a step forward this week as San Francisco's Historic Preservation Commission is slated to sign-off on the plan to document and selectively preserve the historic elements of the site.

55 Laguna Revised Site Plan

Included in the preservation plan, the WPA-era murals and mosaics, including Reuben Kadish’s "A Dissertation on Alchemy" in Woods Hall which has seen better days:

55 Laguna: The Revised Designs And Latest Development Scoop [SocketSite]
55 Laguna: The Latest Rehabilitation Plans And Progress [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

January 30, 2013

Is NoPa Being Wrongly Targeted With Reduced Parking/Traffic Lanes?

Citizen%20NoPa%20Flyer.jpg

Last night "Citizen NoPa" papered parked cars on the streets of NoPa in an attempt to rally new opposition to the proposed redesign of Masonic Avenue and loss of 167 on-street parking spaces, a redesign which was approved by the SFMTA last year and shouldn’t be catching any plugged-in people by surprise.

The flyer leads a NoPa resident who’s now starting to feel that her neighborhood is unfairly being targeted to wonder, "Is it right to reduce traffic lanes and parking and then also approve a new Target store in the same area?"

The construction work on said City Center CityTarget at the corner of Masonic and Geary has commenced and is currently slated for an October 2013 opening.

New Design For Masonic Avenue To Be Approved This Afternoon [SocketSite]
City Center CityTarget Officially Slated For October 2013 Opening [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (128) | (email story)

New Condos At 400 Grove Street Up For Approval And Not Unopposed

On the agenda for San Francisco’s Planning Commission this week, the approval of 34 new condos and a cafe to be built at 400 Grove Street at the corner of Gough, also known as Central Freeway Parcel H, currently a Hayes Valley parking lot.

400%20Grove%20Site.jpg

The full scoop, design and opposition, click any of the renderings to enlarge:

The proposal is to construct a new development reaching a maximum height of four to five stories containing up to 34 dwelling units, approximately 2,025 square feet of ground floor commercial use, and 17 off-street residential parking spaces with access from Grove Street. The project will be "C"-shaped and will wrap around a common courtyard area.

The ground-floor retail space will be a corner space and will have frontage on both Gough and Grove Streets. The remainder of the Grove Street frontage will contain a common residential lobby area, the vehicular entry/exit and a walk-up residential unit. The Gough Street frontage will primarily feature ground-floor retail, but will also include a raised entry into the central common courtyard area and a raised residential unit.

The building will step-down in height from east to west to match the prescribed height and bulk districts with the five-story massing located on the easterly portion of the lot and the four-story massing located on the westerly portion of the lot.

Designed by Fougeron Architecture, opposing the project are neighbors at 525 Gough who fear the loss of light and air to their rear balcony, neighbors at 419 Fulton Street that believe "the Project is too tall, the proposed residential density is too high and have also suggested that a community garden or park might be preferable," and a neighbor at 459 Fulton Street that worries that the availability of on-street parking in the neighborhood will be affected by the proposed 0.5:1 parking ratio.

San Francisco's Planning Department recomends the building's approval.

The Prices For Hayes Valley Parcels H And J [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

January 28, 2013

A Clash Over Condo Conversions At City Hall

TIC Lottery Applicants 2001-2011 (www.SocketSite.com)

At 1 PM today, San Francisco’s Land Use Committee which is chaired by Supervisor Wiener is scheduled to vote on whether or not to allow proposed Condo Conversion Lottery Bypass legislation to move forward to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors for adoption.

The proposed legislation which was introduced by Supervisors Wiener and Farrell last June would allow eligible TIC owners to condo convert for a one-time fee of $20,000 per unit.

As we first reported last year, while the proposed fee amount is $20,000 per unit, said fee would be reduced for each year a unit has participated in the condominium conversion lottery, a reduction of 20 percent per year starting in year two, up to an 80 percent reduction for units that have participated for 5 years or more.

With roughly 2,500 units already seeking conversion, and a current cap of 200 conversions per year, the expected wait time to condo convert without the bypass is well over a decade, approaching two decades for new entrants.

While the terms of the proposed legislation would provide lifetime leases for existing tenants of converting units, the San Francisco Tenants Union opposes the lottery as an assault on Rent Control as condominiums are exempt from the controls.

Both opponents and proponents of the legislation are trying to rally their supporters to the steps of City Hall this afternoon. As always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

The Devilish Details For Bypassing SF's Condo Conversion Lottery [SocketSite]
$20K To Condo Convert From TIC As Proposed [SocketSite]
Condominium Conversion 2012 Lottery Deadline And Odds (Against) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

Giants Moving Forward With Massive "Mission Rock" Development

As we first reported last April with respect the San Francisco Giants’ plans to develop San Francisco’s Seawall 337, also known as the Giants Parking Lot A:

The four year old plans to develop San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337/Pier 48 dubbed "Mission Rock" have officially been dusted off with the Giants and their surviving development partner, the Cordish Cos., touting a plan to break ground for the massive project, currently the site of the San Francisco Giants Parking Lot A, by 2015.
The 27-acre development would yield up to 1,000 housing units, 125,000 square feet of retail (down from 240,000), 1.7 million square feet of office space (up from a million), a garage with 2,690 parking spaces, and over eight acres of public open space.

Mission%20Rock%20Site%20Plan%202013.jpg

With financial partner Cordish Cos. having since pulled out of the project, the Giants are now going it alone and are slated to seek Port Commission approval of the financial terms for the development next month, after which the terms will need to be endorsed by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

Mission%20Rock%20Rendering%20-%20Plaza.jpg

Once the Term Sheet is endorsed, the Giants can commence the formal Planning process (entitlements, environmental impacts, design approval, etc.) with the team hopeful that they will still be able to break ground by 2015, finishing the development by 2022.

Mission%20Rock%20Rendering%20-%20China%20Basin%20Park.jpg

Mission Rock Plans Dusted Off With Giants Swinging For A 2015 Start [SocketSite]
SocketSite Weekend Special: One Proposal For San Francisco SWL 337 [SocketSite]
Proposed Seawall Lot 337 Development Scrambling For Investors [SocketSite]
Could This Be Curtains For Cirque Du Soleil In The City? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

January 24, 2013

Add 291 Units To Potrero Hill's Housing Pipeline

1601 Mariposa Site

Related California, the Irvine based developer of The Paramount in San Francisco, has quietly filed a proposal to demolish the three one-story industrial buildings at 1601 Mariposa Street with plans to construct two buildings with 291 dwelling units over 5,300 square feet of commercial space and parking for 235 cars on the site across from Jackson Playground (and Anchor Brewing Company) at the base of Potrero Hill.

1601%20Mariposa%20Map.jpg

While we haven’t yet seen the design, the site is zoned for 40 feet and the development includes a mid-block pedestrian mews, connecting 18th and Mariposa Streets. And with 291 proposed units, which were not counted in Planning's last report, the housing pipeline for the Potrero Hill/Showplace Square area is now over 3,000 units.

The 43,580 New Units In San Francisco's Current Housing Pipeline [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

Concourse Hall Redevelopment Could Finally Kickoff In 2013

801%20Brannan%20Rendering%202013.jpg

Plans for over 800 new housing units to be built at 801 Brannan (the current site of the Concourse Exhibition Hall) and One Henry Adams are up for approval by San Francisco's Planning Commission this afternoon.

801%20Brannan%20Rendering%202%202013.jpg

As we first reported about the project back in 2010:

The proposed development of 801 Brannan and One Henry Adams (click rendering to enlarge) has been in the works for over ten years, at one point hoping to be delivered in 2008 (and then 2010). The development would raze four buildings across two sites.

Rising on the sites would be five six-story/sixty-eight-foot buildings with up to 819 residential units over ground floor retail and 798 parking spaces. In terms of unit mix: 455 one-bedrooms, 315 two-bedrooms, 20 three-bedrooms, and 29 lofts as proposed.

A revised plan now calls for four buildings with up to 821 units (107 studios, 319 one-bedrooms, 316 two-bedrooms, 69 three-bedrooms, and 10 lofts), up to 150 of which would be affordable. And in terms of parking, the project has been redesigned with 682 spaces for cars (including 6 for carshare) and 729 spaces for bikes.

The project would also yield 50,000 square feet of ground floor retail/commercial and 70,000 square feet of open space, at least two-thirds of which would be publicly accessible and includes the "Market Mews" off Brannan:

801%20Brannan%20Rendering%20Market%20Mews%202013.jpg

801 Brannan And One Henry Adams: 819 Units As Proposed [SocketSite]
Preliminary Designs For 801 Brannan On The Boards [SocketSite]
Plans For 800 New Showplace Square Units Moving Forward [SocketSite]
Plans For 800 New Showplace Square Units Moving Forward [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

January 23, 2013

Conflicting Plans For The Corner Of Brannan And Fifth

610 Brannan

The draft Western SoMa Community Plan which was approved by the Planning Commission this past December and will be before the Board of Supervisors in early 2013 would rezone the corner of Brannan and Fifth Streets to a newly-created Service, Arts and Light Industrial zoning district and change the maximum height for the corner from 50 to 55 feet.

At the same time, the corner also falls within the ongoing Central Corridor Plan study area, the draft plan for which is in the works and an early version of which suggested height limits of 85 to 130 feet would actually be more appropriate for the site:

In recognition of the desire to accommodate more growth in the area, the draft Central Corridor Plan concepts recommend changing the height limit of the subject property to 85 feet. Additionally, the draft concepts include a Higher Height Alternative, which would allow additional height, up to a maximum of 130 feet, on a portion of the subject property. In this alternative scenario, any portion of the building exceeding 85 feet in height would be subject to additional setback requirements and bulk restrictions. At minimum, 15-foot stepbacks will be required above a height of 85 feet along all property lines.

All that being said, the owners of the land are actually proposing to demolish the existing single-story buildings and surface parking lot on the corner and construct a 160-foot-tall and 11-story office building with 20,000 square feet of street-fronting retail space and 547,000 square feet of office space in their place, a proposal which would require the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to approve yet another set of zoning controls for the site in order for the project to proceed.

A Short-Sighted Plan For Western SoMa? [SocketSite]
Planning's Vision And Development Plan For Western SoMa [SocketSite]

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January 17, 2013

Pier 70 Plans Unveiled Including 1,000 New Housing Units

Pier 70 Project Area

Forest City has unveiled their plans for the redevelopment of the 69-acre Pier 70 site with a proposal for over two million square feet of office space, 275,000 feet for "artisans, retailers, designers, and boutique manufacturers," and up to 1,000 new housing units.

Pier%2070%20Slipway%20commons.jpg

From the Business Times with respect to the plan:

While much of the proposal carries out ideas cultivated at Forest City’s 5M project at Fifth and Mission, the inclusion of housing is surprising because the Port of San Francisco had previously said that residential development at the site would conflict with the noisy ship repair businesses that flourish on the pier. But Forest City has circumvented the conflict by placing the housing as far from the ship operations as possible and has been working closely with BAE Systems, which operates the facility, the largest floating dry dock on the U.S. West Coast.

Phase one of the project, which would commence in 2016, includes the conversion of the hisoric 100,000-square-foot Building 2 into about 100 units of housing and the conversion of the historic 160,000-square-foot Building 12 into "a loft-style creative office building with a ground floor marketplace that spills out into the public plaza," the Market Square.

pier%2070%20Market%20Square.jpg

Office and residential components of the project would be concentrated to the north and south of the site with new buildings rising up to 235 feet, while a public promenade would be built along the bay, part of San Francisco’s Great Blue Greenway Project.

Pier%2070%20Slipway%20Promenade.jpg

Now Calling All Developers For San Francisco’s Pier 70 [SocketSite]
Forest City Receives Port Staff’s Final Pier 70 Rose [SocketSite]
Forest City unveils Pier 70 plan [bizjournals.com]
Testing The Waters To Develop Four Infill Acres At Fifth And Mission [SocketSite]
San Francisco's Great Blue Greenway Vision And Interconnected Plans [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

January 15, 2013

Designs For Eleven Stories Of Infill And More Feet On Fourth Street

250 4th Street Rendering

As we first reported last year, the existing two and one-half story building occupied by Olivet Theological University at 250 Fourth Street between Howard and Folsom is proposed to be razed with an 11-story hotel with 220 guest rooms over a ground floor restaurant (and/or retail) to rise on the site without any off-street parking except for (ten) bikes.

250%204th%20Street%20Streetscape.jpg

Assuming approvals which could happen this week, the demolition of 250 Fourth Street would commence in July of 2013 and the finished building would be ready for occupancy by the end of 2014. And as the site currently appears: